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Philadelphia business owners still hurting after September looting

<i></i><br/>Philadelphia business owners are still hurting after the September looting.
Lawrence, Nakia

Philadelphia business owners are still hurting after the September looting.


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    PHILADELPHIA (KYW) — This morning we’re checking in on some Philadelphia small businesses left picking up the pieces after they were targeted by looters last month.

In late September, looters hit businesses in Center City, North Philadelphia, West Philadelphia and Northeast Philadelphia. Many were part of corporate chains while others were small shops.

The storefront windows are now boarded up at Art History 101 on Frankford Avenue. We talked to store owner Jay Pross outside.

“It’s disheartening,” Pross said. “I have no peace of mind if I take these boards down, that there’s a chance we can get hit by looters.”

This Mayfair staple business of 13 years located near Frankford and Cottman Avenues is known for its custom Philly-centric apparel, but more recently Art History has made national headlines as one of several businesses targeted on Sept. 28 by looters.

Pross previously spoke to CBS News Philadelphia and said looters used a rock to break the glass and get inside.

“In the initial break it looks like a clown car,” Pross said. “You see like 5,10,15, 20 people coming out as they are coming in they are just grabbing as much as they can.”

“We had a box of internet orders that was ready to ship out,” Pross said. “About 50 to 100.”

Full days worth of business gone. Pross says he plans to relocate.

Just one block away, Claudia Silmeas, owner of Nat’s Beauty Supply store, says it’ll be months before business is back to normal.

“I’m still a little behind, I still need help getting my stuff back,” Silmeas said.

The same night as the Art History 101 break-in, in less than one minute, the beauty supply store was also wiped clean by looters. Silmeas says then in less than 24 hours two more looters came back for more.

“They came a second time…the next morning around the same time, around 1 a.m.,” Silmeas said.

“I had to close down two and half weeks, I just reopened last week,” she added.

Back inside Art History 101, Pross says his surveillance cameras helped police identify and arrest two women, and one of them was wearing stolen merchandise when they were taken into custody.

Pross now has a shirt commemorating the looting that reads, “I looted the art history store and all i got was this lousy T-shirt.”

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