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Unrest continued throughout the country Tuesday night as rioters challenged curfews and police in several major cities while looters helped themselves to the property of others, ostensibly in the name of George Floyd.
In Northern California, police have begun looking for suspects after rioters stole more than 70 luxury vehicles from a dealer near San Francisco.
Carlos Hidalgo, the owner of San Leandro Chrysler Dodge Jeep dealership, told FOX 2 in Oakland that he tried blocking exits as a precautionary measure, but thieves “started ramming, ramming until they could get out.”
“They took out chains and fence posts,” he continued. “It was a very malicious act.”
Hidalgo added that, in his view, things are getting way out of hand.
“ You walk in [and] it’s like a war zone,” he said looking over the dealership in the aftermath of the theft.
“It’s not a cause for anybody,” he said, a likely reference to Floyd, who died last week at the hands of police in Minneapolis and whose death sparked protests and violence around the country.
“This is just bad thieves. It’s horrible. This is domestic terrorism brought upon to people that work. That’s not right,” Hidalgo added.
He said he called police, but was then faced with the reality: That there aren’t enough officers to respond to all of the calls they are getting, which included him Tuesday night.
As some people continued to demonstrate peacefully, looters separated themselves from the crowd and first struck a Nike store across the street from Hidalgo’s dealership. After stripping the Nike outlet, the thieves then crossed the street and broke into the showroom. They found the key lock box and used fobs to find vehicles.
Reports said that nearly every Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat, retail price north of $90,000, were was stolen. In addition, thieves helped themselves to expensive Jeep Wranglers and pickup trucks.
According to San Leandro Police Department Lt. Ted Henderson, it’s not clear if the theft was pre-planned or spontaneous, but that probably doesn’t make much difference to Hidalgo, who has become one of the latest business owners to be economically decimated by rioters who now seem to be using the death of Floyd as an excuse to spread anarchy.
For his part, Henderson said his department is attempting to identify suspects by examining social media videos of the crime as well as video of the dealership and surrounding area.
“The events in Minneapolis have re-opened old, raw wounds and forced us to confront societal injustices that need to be addressed,” Chief Jeff Tudor wrote in a statement posted on the department’s Facebook page. “Those who peacefully protested have started that conversation. But those who have looted and stoked violence in our community are hurting that effort.”
Fox News reported that some 25 vehicles have been recovered thus far, but many are damaged and others were used for parts.
“As we are getting them back, I’ve got cars without engines,” Hidalgo told local media, adding that after losing some $5 million in merchandise he is planning to hire armed guards.
SF Gate reported that additional businesses looted Tuesday night in the area include a Walmart, See’s Candies, Burlington Coat Factory, Subway, and Designer Shoe Warehouse.
For many small business owners, they are already reeling financially after being shut down or seeing reduced foot traffic thanks to coronavirus closure orders. The destruction of their businesses by rioters and looters could be the last straw for many of them.
“LAW & ORDER!” President Donald Trump tweeted Wednesday morning.
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