What Lindsay Pierce saw on her security cameras Saturday night made her ill.
After hours of being glued to the TV news, she’d turned her focus to her computer, where she could monitor her Melrose Avenue business, Wax, through security cameras.
She wanted to keep an eye on her store as protesters continued to move through the Fairfax District. The 33-year-old has owned the store for a year, but the business has been around for more than a decade.
About 11 p.m., she said, three young men darted inside after windows of the glass storefront were shattered. They immediately moved to the business’ internet router and disconnected it, cutting off Pierce’s connection.
“I started sweating. I got sick to my stomach. I was just thinking, ‘Please don’t light it on fire,'” Pierce said Sunday morning as friends and workers cleaned up the vandalized business and cleared the sidewalk of broken glass.
“We’ve just been doing a lot of remodels,” she said. “We have been pouring a lot of money into it, and then we got shut down eight weeks later. So it was just one blow after another.
“But this is definitely the lowest one.”
She said she got only about an hour of sleep before she headed to the store at 6 a.m. to survey the damage. All of the business’ electronics were stolen, along with some small merchandise. But it could have been a lot worse, Pierce said.
She, her husband and colleagues worked to board up the windows, and they planned to install a new router so she could watch the business from home for another night.
“We’re just preparing for it to happen again tonight, though I really hope it doesn’t.”
Many other stores were in a similar position Sunday. On both sides of Fairfax Avenue at Melrose, business owners were sweeping up glass or pacing on the sidewalk while talking to repair contractors and landlords on the phone.
Spokes ’N Stuff bicycle shop closed at 6 p.m. Saturday. The owner, Joey Harris, saw people breaking windows at Sorella boutique next door when he left.
“And that’s a black-owned business,” he said. “It obviously wasn’t about protests.”
He’s had his store on Melrose for 20 years. It stayed open during the pandemic because it was considered an essential business. But, now, he estimates his losses from one night of looting could total $100,000.
“They not only took my bikes, they took customers’ bikes as well,” he said.
“They’ve gotta find a different way of policing this matter. People have to feel safe,” Harris said. “I think they really need to think about how to plan when something like this happens. Do the citizens need to arm themselves to protect their properties?”