Looters strike stores in Waukegan, Beach Park

  • Brad Lemer, owner of CBD & Smoke Emporium in Waukegan, cleans up broken glass Monday morning. Windows were broken and items taken by looters late Sunday night at several businesses along Lewis Avenue near Glen Flora Avenue in Waukegan.

      Brad Lemer, owner of CBD & Smoke Emporium in Waukegan, cleans up broken glass Monday morning. Windows were broken and items taken by looters late Sunday night at several businesses along Lewis Avenue near Glen Flora Avenue in Waukegan. Paul Valade | Staff Photographer

  • Five Lake County Sheriff's squad cars sustained significant damage late Sunday night.

    Five Lake County Sheriff's squad cars sustained significant damage late Sunday night. Courtesy of Lake County Sheriff

  • Windows were broken at the Metro by T-Mobile store on Lewis Avenue late Sunday night in Waukegan. Looters hit several businesses along Lewis Avenue near Glen Flora Avenue in Waukegan.

      Windows were broken at the Metro by T-Mobile store on Lewis Avenue late Sunday night in Waukegan. Looters hit several businesses along Lewis Avenue near Glen Flora Avenue in Waukegan. Paul Valade | Staff Photographer

  • Brad Lemer, owner of CBD & Smoke Emporium in Waukegan, takes photos of his damaged business Monday morning. Windows were broken and items taken by looters Sunday night at several businesses along Lewis Avenue near Glen Flora Avenue in Waukegan.

      Brad Lemer, owner of CBD & Smoke Emporium in Waukegan, takes photos of his damaged business Monday morning. Windows were broken and items taken by looters Sunday night at several businesses along Lewis Avenue near Glen Flora Avenue in Waukegan. Paul Valade | Staff Photographer

  • Windows were broken by cinder blocks which can be seen on the floor of the Metro by T-Mobile on Lewis Avenue in Waukegan. Windows were broken and items taken by looters late Sunday night at several businesses along Lewis Avenue near Glen Flora Avenue in Waukegan.

      Windows were broken by cinder blocks which can be seen on the floor of the Metro by T-Mobile on Lewis Avenue in Waukegan. Windows were broken and items taken by looters late Sunday night at several businesses along Lewis Avenue near Glen Flora Avenue in Waukegan. Paul Valade | Staff Photographer

  • The main entrance to the Rue 21 store on Lewis Avenue in Waukegan is boarded up after looters damaged several businesses late Sunday night in Waukegan.

      The main entrance to the Rue 21 store on Lewis Avenue in Waukegan is boarded up after looters damaged several businesses late Sunday night in Waukegan. Paul Valade | Staff Photographer

  • Cardboard with a message of standing with George Floyd covers a broken window at the Dream Clean Laundromat on Grand Avenue in Waukegan.

      Cardboard with a message of standing with George Floyd covers a broken window at the Dream Clean Laundromat on Grand Avenue in Waukegan. Paul Valade | Staff Photographer

  • Glass is being cleaned up and windows boarded up at Plaza Jewelers on Lewis Avenue in Waukegan after people broke windows of several businesses late Sunday night.

      Glass is being cleaned up and windows boarded up at Plaza Jewelers on Lewis Avenue in Waukegan after people broke windows of several businesses late Sunday night. Paul Valade | Staff Photographer

  • Cinder blocks and bricks lie on the floor of the Metro by T-Mobile cellphone store on Lewis Avenue in Waukegan after looters broke windows of several businesses late Sunday night.

      Cinder blocks and bricks lie on the floor of the Metro by T-Mobile cellphone store on Lewis Avenue in Waukegan after looters broke windows of several businesses late Sunday night. Paul Valade | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 6/1/2020 5:03 PM

Store owners and community members worked to clean up and rebuild Monday following the looting of businesses in northern Waukegan and Beach Park Sunday night.

Waukegan Mayor Sam Cunningham said the looting began after a peaceful protest march Sunday evening. As with hundreds of similar protests in the U.S. and around the world, people came out in Waukegan to express anger at last week's death of George Floyd after he was handcuffed and pinned to the ground by a Minneapolis police officer, who was seen in videos with his knee to Floyd's neck and was later charged with murder.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Sgt. Christopher Covelli of the Lake County Sheriff's Office said there were hundreds of looters in Waukegan and Beach Park and about 10 arrests. In addition, five Lake County Sheriff's squad cars were damaged by looters.

Covelli said officials do not believe the protesters were involved in the looting.

Authorities took steps Monday night to prevent further looting. Covelli said there would be significantly more deputies on patrol. Gurnee Police said people made threats online to loot specific larger businesses in Gurnee and some businesses decided to close as a precaution.

On Sunday, looters hit several stores near N. Lewis and W. Glen Flora avenues in northern Waukegan between 9 and 10 p.m. Sunday. Covelli said another hot spot was near N. Lewis Ave. and W. Wadsworth Road in Beach Park, Covelli said.

"Everything is smashed and gone. They did a pretty good job breaking everything up," said Brad Lemer, the owner of CBD & Smoke Emporium on the 1300 block of North Lewis Avenue in Waukegan. "It's a shame this happened in this community and it's a lot of family-run businesses. I look forward to rebuilding and being here for the future because I feel I am part of the community too."

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Cinder blocks and bricks used by looters to smash in the windows of the nearby Metro by T-Mobile were still visible Monday morning.

Other nearby stores that were damaged, looted or both included Rue 21, Ross Dress For Less, Sun Cleaners and Plaza Jewelers.

During a Facebook Live address Monday morning, Cunningham called the looting a disappointment. He did not yet have an estimate on the cost of damages.

"We literally destroyed that area for no apparent reason," Cunningham said, referring to the "ground zero" of Lewis and Glen Flora.

Cunningham, who took part in the peaceful protest, said people who bring destruction will not be tolerated.

"These are your blocks, these are the stores your families go to for goods and services," Cunningham said. "We trust we cannot repeat this again."

Covelli said about 10 people who were involved in looting in Beach Park and Waukegan were arrested by police Sunday night. Covelli said they were all from the area.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Lake County State's Attorney Michael Nerheim said those arrested face felony charges including burglary, looting and criminal damage to property.

"I strongly condemn the actions of the police officers involved in the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis and any acts of police brutality anywhere," Nerheim said. "Protests are designed to bring about change, but criminal conduct like this deflects attention from these important conversations and positive changes."

• Daily Herald Deputy Director of Visual Journalism Paul Valade contributed to this report.

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