‘We lost everything in 10 minutes’: Santa Monica merchants survey what’s left after looting

A police officer inspects the damage to a Vons supermarket after it was looted.
A police officer inspects the damage to a Vons supermarket Sunday hours after it was looted in Santa Monica.
(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

The owner of Cisco Home on Lincoln Boulevard, a designer furniture store, said he rushed to his shop after his neighbor texted him Sunday that “people were doing crazy things.”

Inside, a couch was flipped over and water from the sprinklers had damaged some of the furniture.

“We lost everything in 10 minutes,” said the owner, Roman, who declined to give his last name. He estimated that the damage would cost up to $6 million.


Merchants across Santa Monica were surveying the damage after looters hit scores of stores Sunday, using the opportunity of largely peaceful protests to steal merchandise and set several fires.

The looting hit large chain businesses like Vans, Vons, banks and other retailers in and around the Santa Monica Place mall.

But small business owners also were targeted.

Police made hundreds of arrests, but it took hours to get the situation under control.

The owner of a nail salon near Lincoln and Broadway stood outside his business at 8 p.m., giving instructions to workers unloading a truck full of wooden boards. The owner, who didn’t want to share his name, said he arrived about 4 p.m. to find his business destroyed.

Despite efforts by the mayor and police chief to strike the right tone in their response to the protests over the death of George Floyd, many in Los Angeles say they missed the mark.

June 1, 2020

Rafael Resendez, the owner of the barbershop next door, was also speaking with workers, helping them board up his business. Looters had taken $12,000 worth of equipment, including hair cutting tools and cash registers, he said.


Resendez said Sunday was the first day his shop, Lincoln Barbers, had been open in two months because of the coronavirus outbreak. He closed at 2 p.m., telling his employees he didn’t think the looters would target them.

He had posted a sign that read “Mexican owned” and messages in support of the protesters in hopes they would avoid his business.

It didn’t work.

“I feel guilty” for not doing more, he said. “Those people are looking for excuses to commit crimes. They don’t care about [George Floyd]. I do care about him. This is not the way to do it.”

Times staff writers Joseph Serna and Arit John contributed to this report.