SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — The Sunday morning air in Union Square was punctuated not by shoppers or looters, but by drills, hammers and saws as the city’s retail hub was transformed into a plywood jungle after a night of looting and destruction.
What began as peaceful protests at Civic Center and UN Plaza devolved and were co-opted by looters and troublemakers as night fell.
At Swarovski, at the corner of Geary and Powell, the only sparkle left was broken glass. At Goyard on Grant, smashed safety glass was being replaced by 2-by-4’s and plywood.
“I was extremely upset because unfortunately with some of the vandals, they thought this was a game – they thought this was funny and this is not funny – to damage property, to set fires that could lead to someone else’s death,” said Mayor London Breed in a news conference Sunday morning.
There were 10 felony arrests for looting and many more detained according to Chief William Scott.
“People were deliberately starting fires, throwing Molotov cocktails at officers, throwing Molotov cocktails at businesses,” he said.
While the corporate behemoths of Union Square have multi-national backing, locally-owned West Coast Leathers on Post Street does not. Looters stripped its shelves of nearly all the merchandise.
“The amount is unbelievable. The front of the store is completely emptied,” owner Stanley Pas told KPIX 5. “The middle of the store is emptied, the downstairs through the garage — somehow they got.”
At Goorin Bros. hat shop, hope was just beginning to build at being able to reopen after being closed since mid-March under a strict state-wide shelter-in-place to stem the spread of the coronavirus.
“They stole our inventory, destroyed the shop – we were hoping to open on Monday,” said controller Aaron Wyse. “Like all San Francisco retail stores, we’ve been closed since March 17th – it’s been pretty painful and we’ve really been hoping to open up on Monday and obviously that plans not gonna work.”