EMERYVILLE (CBS SF) – Looters targeted several Emeryville stores along Bay Street Saturday night, stormed into H&M, Best Buy, Lane Bryant, BevMo !, Uniqlo and GameStop stores and dropped out with merchandise.
The first signs of looting appeared shortly after 8:15 p.m. when Chopper 5 took pictures of looters who hit a Best Buy store. At one point, a Best Buy van lit up outside that store.
Small groups walked through the retail district, choosing targets, smashing windows and competing inward to rip off goods. Helicopter video showed looters with shopping carts full of goods and loading the stolen items in vehicles.
Boxes of alcohol were transported from BevMo! Looters also emptied the Sprint store with cell phones and rushed out of the Jos A Bank store with arm-filled clothes. Most of the stores have been closed since mid-March due to COVID-19 protection in place.
A Chase Bank branch was also vandalized and a nearby Ross Store was also targeted for looters leaving loaded goods. Looters were also seen running out of the Ashley Furniture store with large large televisions.
Emeryville Police Chief Jennifer G. Tejada told CPIX 5 that “hundreds of young people come in to loot shops … I think it has nothing to do with the community’s grief over the murder of George Floyd.”
Police had called in the stores in the Bay Street Shopping Center nearby to keep the looters out, but they did not confront those who were already about to loot the other stores.
The parking lot in the Best Buy store was full of boxes and packaging material because some of the looters couldn’t fit the big TVs they stole in their vehicles without taking them out of the boxes.
Despite an increased police presence that stopped the looting from the Best Buy store, there were still looters procuring goods from a variety of companies from about 11:20 p.m. When officials gathered around an area to stop the criminal activity, looters simply ran away and concentrated their attention on another set of stores.
There were no demonstrations nearby to protest the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis on Saturday night.
On Friday night, the protests in San Jose and Oakland were released without control with dozens of people arrested, stores looted, fires set and police injured.
Tejada had issued a statement Saturday asking for calm in her community.
“The protests in Oakland last night developed into acts of violence and vandalism,” she said. “We work with our neighboring agencies to ensure that we are ready to respond and protect Emeryville and uphold the safety of our community members. We ask for your help to protect everyone during these challenging times. Continue to follow the “Shelter in Place” order so that you are protected from any harmful activity that may occur this weekend. “
“You can be sure that we as black officers have the power to protect our society. We understand that we must do so with a mix of humanity, empathy and justice in order to maintain our public confidence. “
Target company officials said they shut down all of their Bay Area stores for as much as 14 days because of the outbreak of violence related to George Floyd demonstrations. Including that shutdown was the huge Emeryville store.
On Friday night, a Target store was looted in downtown Oakland. The Target store in Emeryville had its windows on board earlier in the day.
“We are heartbroken by the death of George Floyd and the pain it causes communities across the country,” the company said in a release. “At present, we have made the decision to close a number of our stores. We expect that most stores will be closed temporarily. “
Officials stated that the closures could last for at least 14 days.
“Additionally, team members affected by store closures will be paid for up to 14 days of scheduled hours during store closures, including premium payment of COVID-19,” the release said. “They will also be able to work in other locations nearby.”
Affected Bay Area stores include Alameda, Bayfair, Central San Francisco, Central Berkeley, San Jose College Park, Colma, East Palo Alto, Fashion Island Foster City, Mountain View, North Hayward, Oakland, Pinole, Emeryville, Redwood City, Richmond , Serramonte, San Francisco Folsom St., San Francisco 13th St., South San Francisco, Tanforan, University Ave. Berkeley and West Lake Daly City.