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‘This is my livelihood,’ boutique owner says after shop is looted twice in three months

Community members and business owners rallied together to clean up mess left behind after a night of looting.

Ken Londe, owner of Londo Mondo, said his store lost over $25,000 worth of merchandise. The cash drawer was stolen, too.
Ken Londe, owner of Londo Mondo, said his store lost over $25,000 worth of merchandise. The cash drawer was stolen, too.
Madeline Kenney/Sun-Times

Londo Mondo on the Near North Side was looted Monday for second time in three months, leading owner Ken Londe and some other business owners to call on the city to bring in the National Guard and possibly put armed security guards on every corner and in condo buildings.

Londe said his women’s fashion boutique was hit about 2:30 a.m. Monday. He said there was well over $25,000 worth of lost merchandise and said the looters took his cash drawer.

“This is my livelihood,” Londe said. “All this merchandise they took is on credit cards [that] still needs to be paid. And now we’re going to have to order more. And we have limits on our credit cards, so not good.”

The boutique was first looted in May amid the civil unrest over the police killing of George Floyd. The latest incident happened after unrest grew in Englewood where a 20-year-old man was shot by Chicago police.

Londe has owned this store for more than 30 years and has “never seen anything like what we’re experiencing now.”

“We were just getting back on our feet, and things seemed to have been going better,” said Londe, who’s considered moving his store after the looting. “We were down three months because of the coronavirus and just before we opened up, we got looted [in May] . . . And then we got that cleaned up . . . we had a nice month of business and then we got hit again, they just keep knocking us down.”

Community members and area business owners rallied together on the Near North Side around 3 a.m. to protect stores, several people said. Some had baseball bats and weapons. Londe said he pretended to call the cops to deter looters.

“These are not protesters, and if they are protesters than they’re frauds because these are not peaceful in any way, shape or form,” Londe said.

Lincoln Park

Workers clean up the shattered glass left by looters who broke into the Binny’s Beverage Depot in Lincoln Park overnight.
Workers clean up the shattered glass left by looters who broke into the Binny’s Beverage Depot in Lincoln Park overnight.
Stefano Esposito/Sun-Times

A sickly sweet odor hung in the air, and the concrete floor glistened with spilled booze inside the Binny’s Beverage Depot in Lincoln Park, one of three Binny’s hit overnight and a previous looting target in May.

“We’re frustrated we have to do it all again,” said Brian Stein, the company’s vice president, as he surveyed the damage. “We don’t want to have to become experts in riot response.”

The looters went for cases, not single bottles, and they smashed their way into the “Rare and Collectibles” room.

“This is a home away from home for a lot of people — we have a very close-knit team,” Stein said. “Unfortunately, we’re bonding over the fact that this is now multiple times we have to rebuild.”

Stein said the company plans to reopen the stores.

Near North Side

Bruce Alper, 66, of River North, center, helps clean up at a Best Buy near Marcey and Halsted streets.
Bruce Alper, 66, of River North, center, helps clean up at a Best Buy near Marcey and Halsted streets.
Stefano Esposito/Sun-Times

Outside a Best Buy store near Marcey and Halsted streets, two dozen store employees and neighborhood volunteers, like Bruce Ackerman, were out cleaning up. Much of the parking lot was strewn with empty flat-screen TV boxes and shredded styrofoam.

Ackerman, 30, who lives nearby, said he was thinking of starting up his drone to survey the area and then thought he could be more help with a broom.

“This is the least I could do,” Ackerman said. “It isn’t really helping any cause. I’m a Black guy living in this neighborhood, too. What if (Best Buy) closes and they don’t want to reopen? It hurts the whole neighborhood.”

The Mag Mile

An Ugg store at 545 N. Michigan Ave. on the Magnificent Mile after looting broke out overnight in the Loop and surrounding neighborhoods, Monday morning, Aug. 10, 2020.
An Ugg store, 545 N. Michigan Ave., after looting broke out overnight in the Loop and surrounding neighborhoods,
Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-Times

Shards of glass littered the sidewalk Monday as board-up crews worked to install plywood over shattered windows.

Scores of people, many out walking their dogs or jogging, paused on the Magnificent Mile, snapping iPhone photos of the more than a dozen looted high-end stores.

Stephen Kelly and Sarah Burgan have lived in Streeterville for about a year and were surveying the damage along Michigan Avenue Monday morning.

“It’s scary,” Kelly said. “It’s just so sad, you know, just to see a city like this just be completely destroyed within a couple hours.”

The Loop

CBD Kratom at 28 E. Randolph St. after looting broke out in the Loop and surrounding neighborhoods overnight, Monday morning, Aug. 10, 2020.
CBD Kratom, 28 E. Randolph St., after looting broke out in the Loop and surrounding neighborhoods early Monday.
Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-Times

Several shops along Lake, Randolph and State streets were looted, as were a jewelry store and McDonald’s near the Daley Center.

One woman, who declined to give her name, said she brought a baseball bat for protection as she swept up glass outside the McDonald’s.

South Loop

Rafael Gutiérrez cleans the windows at Art of Pizza, 727 S. State St.
Rafael Gutiérrez cleans the windows at Art of Pizza, 727 S. State St.
Manny Ramos/Sun-Times

Rafael Gutiérrez owns a window-cleaning business and talked about how the looting has hurt him and his many customers in the South Loop as he cleaned the windows of Art of Pizza, 727 S. State St.

“All of my stores are closed, and I can’t make any money right now,” Gutiérrez said.

Gutiérrez said he has a contract with almost a dozen 7-Eleven convenience stores in the South Loop affected by the looting. He expects to be short at least $500 in revenue this month.

“[Looters] are ruining my business, and they are not thinking about the people that this affects,” Gutiérrez said. “They think they are just hurting the store owners, but these stores receive a lot of outside services like mine.”

Fabian Rodriguez fastens a board over the door of a 7-Eleven convenience store, 600 S. Dearborn St., looted in the South Loop.
Fabian Rodriguez boards up a 7-Eleven convenience store in the South Loop.
Manny Ramos/Sun-Times