Three Chicago pot shops were targeted in the ongoing wave of destruction and theft that has spread across the city after a downtown protest over the officer-involved death of George Floyd devolved into chaos on Saturday.
On Sunday afternoon, 40-50 looters broke into Mission, 8554 S. Commercial Ave. in South Chicago, and made off with the store’s stash of highly regulated pot products.
Kris Krane, Mission’s president, said the shop’s management was able to shut down the dispensary as stores in the area were being ransacked and get out safely minutes before it was targeted. He said in a Facebook post that the store “was overrun by 40 to 50 men and women, some armed, and ransacked. Everything of value was taken, and the store was mostly destroyed.”
Still, he vowed to rebuild.
“A store can be rebuilt, and inventory can be replaced, but these human lives cannot,” said Krane. “The staff and customers making it out safe turned what could have been a tragedy into a sad inconvenience.”
“We will rebuild, and we will be back stronger as soon as we can,” he added.
Chicago police also responded to a pair of looting incidents Sunday at The Herbal Care Center at 1301 S. Western Ave. on the Near West Side. About 1:40 a.m., officers responding to a burglary call saw the shop’s glass doors had been shattered and learned from the manager that cash registers and other items were stolen, police said.
Surveillance footage showed 10 people exiting three vehicles and entering the store after two of them smashed the glass with sledgehammers.
Later, shortly after Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s 9 p.m. curfew took hold, officers responded to a call of looting at the dispensary and saw “a mob” of people leaving, police said.
It was “very crazy,” said Tom Taber of Glenview, who was driving by when he saw several cars and about 40-50 people in a standoff with security guards before they later broke in through a metal garage door, he said.
“The area was super tense before the break-in,” he said. “At one point I heard a group of individuals shouting at the security how they have guns, too, [saying], ‘Yeah, we got guns too, we got guns, too. You ever been shot?’ ”
He said the guards fled inside. The looters were able to pry open a garage door but didn’t get much further. Police said the men unsuccessfully tried to break into the vault and steal an ATM. However, Taber said the men took items from inside.
Anthony Roldan, the store’s manager, declined to comment.
Dispensary 33 in Uptown was also targeted by a group of four people on Saturday, according to spokeswoman Abigail Watkins. But after breaking the window of a waiting room, an alarmed sounded and they took off without stealing anything.
Cresco Labs’ new Sunnyside dispensary at 436 N. Clark St. in River North was also broken into on Saturday night — just two days after the store opened. But unlike at Mission, the prospective looters were unable to breach the store’s vault and didn’t make off with any weed.
Jason Erkes, a Cresco spokesman, said the entire inventory from that store and another Sunnyside location in Lake View has now “been temporarily removed to a state-licensed and secure facility.”
“The safety of our staff and maintaining control of our regulated product continues to be our top priority,” said Erkes. “We will work with law enforcement and state regulators to determine a safe timeline to reopen.”