ST.PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) – St.Petersburg Police said Sunday they had 11 hours of peaceful protests before it turned violent around 11:00 pm. Police said protestors began throwing pieces of concrete, rocks, and bottles at officers, 14 people were subsequently arrested.
Police also said there was a rash of burglaries early Sunday morning.
“It made me so scared that the business next door got broken into, I was so worried,” said Nail Shop Owner Van Luong. Loung owns a nail shop along 34th Street South. The AT&T store next-door was just burglarized on Sunday. It was one of many.
According to the St. Petersburg Police Department five stores burglarized Sunday morning are:
- Cell Phone Repair Store: 3803 34 Street South
- DTLR Clothing Store: 2930 54 Avenue South
- On Point Fashions Store: 2132 34 Street South
- AT&T Store: 5145 34 Street South
- Ocean Blue Galleries: 284 Beach Drive Northeast
Van Loung believes the burglary could be connected to the current civil unrest in the community.
“We’ve been here almost 20 years,” said salon manager Chang Luong. “What happened in AT&T is very scary. We just opened for 2 weeks [because of coronavirus] and the business is slowing down. Now, there are crazy things happen so we are so worried,” said Luong.
Chang Luong said there are Tampa nail salons that have been looted and burglarized and she is nervous about their store. “I think we’re going to close early. We’ll close at 5:00 pm [instead of 7:00 pm ]cause that’s all we can do,” said Luong.
8 On your Side asked St.Pete Police if these burglaries can be connected with the civil unrest and protest from over the weekend.
“We have no way to connect these crimes to the protesters at this time. There were no crowds, groups or anything else to suggest these were related to the events this weekend.”
Some store owners we spoke with think the events could correlate. One store owner who wanted to stay anonymous said the world is just an unpredictable place right now and you can’t plan or prepare for unpredictability.
“I do not agree with the burglaries and all that because to me that’s not a way to handle things,” said nail salon customer Leola Greene. She believes the burglaries are correlated with the current unrest in our community.
“With the virus and staying in, it’s just an outburst right now. Right now it’s just boiling over,” said Greene. “It’s overdue about the way some people are being treated,” said Greene. She said while she believes in the message of equality behind the protests, she believes they would be more effective if done peacefully. “Sort of like the days with Doctor Martin Luther King. Ya know? Where it was peaceful,” said Greene.