Looters destroyed a Philadelphia business this week in a crazy scene captured by a security camera.
The 53-second video shows dozens of looters cramming into La’vanter Boutique, a small clothing store in North Philly, and ripping it apart on Tuesday around 4 a.m., according to Jameelah Scurry, who co-owns the business with her brother Jamil.
Two women first enter the store, the video shows, and begin tearing shirts and handbags off the racks.
“Bro, grab what you want,” one woman is heard saying.
All of a sudden, dozens more looters flood the store. The scene descends into chaos as looters race to grab what they can.
One man pulls out a green sack and begins stuffing women’s clothes into it as another grabs as much as he can carry in his arms.
“A terrible day for us,” Scurry wrote on the caption of the video. “The day we had everything taken from us in less than a minute.”
In a phone interview with the Post, Scurry, a former crossing guard, recounted how she and her brother, a former police officer, left their jobs to build the store.
Scurry “emptied my savings and checking account,” maxed out her credit cards and even sold her house to open the business, she said.
“I can’t even explain, just a whole lot of blood, sweat and tears,” she added.
Scurry said the business was already reeling from the economic slowdown caused by the pandemic, not to mention a prior robbery that occurred on August 27.
She added that her business made it through the George Floyd riots unscathed, but many others in the neighborhood weren’t so lucky and this round of riots and lootings is just another sucker punch.
“The city could do more to protect businesses. None of us are protected. All our investment in the neighborhood is, like, done. Business owners don’t want to come back because a whole lot, from the first time, got destroyed, like businesses got burnt down to the ground, and I was praying the first time, ‘please don’t let them burn down our building.’”
Scurry urged looters to consider who they’re hurting when they loot small businesses in the community.
“Tearing down our own communities and our own people is not the way. I believe you can protest without destroying your own community,” she said. “I’m black, so I can resonate with everything that’s going on in America, but tearing down your own community?”
But there is a bright spot. Scurry took to GoFundMe to try to raise some cash to help bring her business back to life.
She was aiming to raise $15,000. As of Thursday evening, she had raised more than $27,600 from hundreds of strangers who posted outpourings of support on the site.
“It’s what I was telling people, like we, as a community, and people can come together, but we don’t have to just come together when there’s trauma or something bad,” she said. “We should always stick together and help each other, not when just something bad is happening. It’s a blessing.”
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