ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Sean Cardenas, 22, has been sentenced to 5 years for breaking into and setting Burlington Coat Factory on fire during civil unrest and looting in Rockford on May 30th, 2020.
According to police, officers were summoned to the business, at 6260 E. State Street, by an alarm around 11 p.m., and saw that the front doors of the building had been smashed in. Police say they found a smoldering fire in the northeast corner of the building, which they extinguished.
Police say they identified Cardenas through a follow-up investigation.
Federal investigators said Cardenas wore a mask and hood and entered the store, using a hammer to break the front door, and then used a Molotov cocktail to set a fire inside.
He was sentenced in U.S. Federal court on Wednesday.
In addition to 5 years in prison, Cardenas must serve 3 years of probation and pay $965,591 in restitution.
Anti-police racial protests erupted around the nation following the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
In Rockford, hundreds of protesters met for a “Rockford Stands with Minneapolis” rally and met at Haskell Park, later marching through downtown Rockford, and eventually clashing with police at the District 1 Headquarters.
Vandals ripped apart the police marquee and threw rocks at the building. Police and SWAT eventually cleared the protestors out around 11 p.m. with tear gas.
As the night progressed, several storefronts in the city were met with smashed windows and looting. Earlier that day, stores across the city boarded up their windows and doors.
In addition to Cardenas, two men were charged with burglarizing De Soto’s Jewelry, located at 3504 E. State Street.
More than $50,000 worth of jewelry was stolen from Zavius Jewelers, at 2636 McFarland Road.
Grunos Diamonds, at 801 N. Perryville Road, and Christopher’s Jewelers, at 6585 Lexus Drive, were also targeted by looters.