CHICAGO (CBS) — A man in a bulletproof vest with a gun on his hip might look like a police officer, but at Imperial Jewelry Monday it was actually the owner of the store, just trying to protect his business from looters.
Owner Terry Te spoke with CBS 2’s Suzanne Le Mignot and said he does not feel safe. He had his windows replaced just two weeks ago after the first looting incident.
In a video taken at 3:30 Monday morning, three young men are captured on video walking back and forth in front of a window at the store at 1 N. Wabash Ave. One of them tries to break the window with a large rock, but it doesn’t work. A second try does the trick, but the alarm goes off, too.
About 30 minutes later, Te arrives at his story. He surveys the damage done by the extremely large rock. At that moment a young man runs back to the broken windows while Te is standing there.
“He actually ran to get the other boulder outside,” Te said. “I looked outside and there was a boulder, but there was a guy running towards that boulder to grab it.”
Te said he thinks the men went next door to break the windows there.
In the video, Te, wearing a bulletproof vest, puts his hands on his gun.
“I wasn’t going to pull out the gun, but I had it just in case if something were to happen,” he said.
Te specializes in bridal jewelry. His store has been a fixture at the Chicago Landmark Diamond Center since it opened on Jewelers Row 12 years ago. This is the second time his store was hit by looters.
“I hear from our customers after watching and seeing what’s going on, they’d rather not come down to do any business,” he said. “For me it seems to not even be worth it to be down here. Our customers don’t feel safe. Event the store owners don’t know if it’s safe to put jewelry out.”
Between the more than 15 smashed windows and 11 shattered showcases, Te had about $50,000 in property damage. Fortunately his jewelry was secured during both incidents, and the thieves got nothing.
He wants the city to do more.
“I just want them to protect us, to make sure this doesn’t happen and looting is not a part of this city,” he said.
CBS 2 reached out to the City of Chicago and is told there will be a second round of grants through the Together Now Fund for small business owners. Chicago police say there will be extra police presence with extra patrols designed to supplement officers already on duty throughout the city.
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