Philadelphia Liquor Stores Forced to Close after Looting Spree Amid Protests

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In a sudden turn of events, all liquor establishments in Philadelphia were forced to shutter on Wednesday in the wake of unwarranted lootings that transpired following the peaceful demonstrations condemning a judge’s decision to drop all charges against a former Philadelphia policeman implicated in a lethal traffic stop shooting incident.

Police enforcement, having arrested numerous individuals on Tuesday night as a result of the thefts, remained resolute in their declaration to carry out more arrests should the situation escalate further on Wednesday night, urging citizens to notify 911 of any ongoing felonious activity.

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While municipal authorities, including Mayor Jim Kenney, pledged to prioritize public safety and safeguard businesses, the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board proactively shut down 49 retail liquor and wine stores – 48 of which were based in the city of Philadelphia – in response to the looting of 18 outlets overnight. Shawn Kelly, the board’s press secretary, shared the details with media but refrained from giving out the source of information.

No employees were harmed during the episodes, albeit shaken, as revealed by Kelly. He continued to state, “Today, all Fine Wine & Good Spirits (FW&GS) stores in Philadelphia, and one in Cheltenham Plaza, Wyncote, Montgomery County, are temporarily non-operational, to guarantee the safety of our employees, and to facilitate damage assessment and loss survey.”. The conclusion as to the damage inflicted and items lost remains uncertain currently.

The board ranks as one of the substantial purchasers of beverage alcohol in the United States, as stated on their website.

Moving ahead, the police will augment resources on Wednesday night according to an anonymous department spokesperson. Mayor Kenney, however, did not hesitate in sending a clear warning, pointing out the repercussions of engaging in wrongdoings.

By Wednesday afternoon, the tally of apprehensions rose to 52, incorporating three minors, as a result of lootings that rocked stores throughout Philadelphia’s Center City district and various liquor stores on Tuesday night, conveyed Jane Roh, a spokesperson for the Philadelphia district attorney’s office.

The looting frenzy ensued following the peaceful demonstrations protesting a judge’s decision to acquit former Philadelphia police officer Mark Dial of his charges in the fatal shooting of 27-year-old Eddie Irizarry on August 14.

Interim police commissioner expressed his belief that the looters were mere opportunists attempting to exploit the situation and did not hold any direct links to the protests. He clarified, “What we had tonight was a bunch of criminal opportunists taking advantage of a situation.” during a press conference after midnight.

In the aftermath, at least 30 of those detained, including three juveniles, are facing charges of burglary and theft according to Roh. While a police vehicle was vandalized amidst the chaos, no arrests related to the incident have been made yet.

Officers received their first calls of businesses being invaded or vandalized around 8 p.m., as shared by the commissioner. The punitive action that followed the Irizarry verdict concluded around 7:30 p.m., and while the police department had already begun repositioning officers away from the scene, there was sufficient strength present to respond rapidly.

Looting reports initially emerged from the Center City area but then spread to neighboring regions, as per Stanford. He shared, “We’re investigating whether there was a convoy of different vehicles going from place to place.”

At present, it’s uncertain just how many businesses were targeted on Tuesday or from where the looters originated, but the targeted shops encompassed high-end stores, clothing and sneaker shops, wine, spirit stores, and pharmacies.

Cellphone footage obtained shows several individuals in hooded sweatshirts ransacking an Apple store, while another video captured officers detaining multiple people outside a Lululemon store. On a similar note, officers were spotted outside a Foot Locker store, the front of which was vandalized, and goods lay sprawled on the floor.

Investigators are now combing through area footage to make additional arrests, Stanford said. He concluded, “We made arrests, and we will continue to make arrests until we have all of the individuals that have been responsible for what we’ve seen tonight in custody.”

The recent lootings in Philadelphia send ripples through the retail world – both on a large scale and small scale – that grapple with escalating store crimes hurting their revenues.