ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — While other areas are cleaning up, Rockford businesses are preparing for another rough few nights. Looters targeted over a dozen stores over the weekend. City leaders are encouraging business owners to proceed with caution as demonstrations continue.
“People ask where is it happening? Take your pick. It’s north, south, east, west, any business is fair game. These individuals are driving around throughout the city, trying to steal things that aren’t theirs,” Rockford Police Chief Dan O’Shea said in Monday’s press conference.
On Monday, several stores began boarding up windows to prevent more looting. The precautionary changes are the latest obstacle for business owners still dealing with the economic impact of the virus.
“There has never been a place for absolute violence and opportunistic behavior of looting businesses, and quite honestly businesses who have just went through some of the most devastating times of their entire lives due to the COVID-19 pandemic.” Rockford Mayor Tom McNamara said during the press briefing.
A local non-profit that builds safe and affordable homes for families in the Rockford area is feeling the pressure.
Keri Asevedo / Exec. Dir. Rockford Habitat for Humanity
“Our organization believes in lifting people up and not holding them down, and so we stand strong together,” explained Keri Asevedo, the executive director for Rockford Habitat for Humanity.
The organization’s restore shop was slated to re-open on Tuesday–but executive director Asevedo said the date was pushed back to June 9th due to the current social climate.
“We felt that it was in the best interest of our staff, our volunteers, our customers and our donors to postpone our opening for one week to ensure their safety and the safety of our community,” Asevedo added. “”We stand with organizations that are fighting for peace and equality.”
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