Vandals, looters damage downtown Naperville businesses

A protest in Naperville that started peacefully took an ugly turn late Monday night as authorities said a different group of protesters arrived and began looting.

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Smoothie King in downtown Naperville was among businesses vandalized late Monday as looters arrived after what had been a peaceful protest.

Robert Sanchez | Daily Herald photo

A protest in Naperville that started peacefully took an ugly turn late Monday night as authorities said a different group of protesters arrived and began breaking windows and looting downtown businesses.

The vandalism and looting began around 9:35 p.m. — despite a 9 p.m. curfew — when one protester set off a firework that caused an explosion. Vandals then broke windows at more than a dozen downtown establishments, including Barnes & Noble, Talbots, Sullivan’s Steakhouse, Walgreens, Smoothie King, Bangkok Village, Pandora, Starbucks and the Gap. Looters also entered some businesses, police said, and tried unsuccessfully to break into the Apple store.

Some downtown businesses had boarded up their windows before the protest began at 3 p.m. and most had closed early at the city’s urging.

Naperville police Cmdr. Mike Son said the damage began after the firework was set off. Many protesters ran from the Washington Street and Chicago Avenue intersection where the firework went off, but did not immediately leave downtown and began breaking windows and entering businesses.

“This appeared to be a different group,” Son said. “They weren’t protesting the same way the other group was.”

For more on this story, please read the Daily Herald.

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