by Alex Lloyd Gross
There is not enough evidence to send former Philly Cop Mark Dial to trial. That is what the judge ruled earlier yesterday that sent people into a frenzy. Some were not happy. They protested as is their right. As darkness fell, the looting started. At first is was around center city and West Philly and quickly spread to Port Richmond. Police tried to stop it by cutting all traffic on Aramingo Ave. It only pushed it into other areas. Dial fatally shot Eddie Irizarry. It was caught on video.
Sneaker shops and cell phone stores were broken into and product was taken all over the city. When you are looting, you do not care what the size is. If there are boxes of sneakers, you grab what you can. Then stash them and go back for more. By 8:45 PM stores all along Adams Ave. near Rising Sun were broken into. A Game Stop, a liqueur store and cellphone stores were hit in succession. The looters did not care about practicality of what they were doing. A 17 year old skinny male running into a store to take pants with a 50 inch waist , or someone with large feet grabbing up size 6 shoes. None of it made sense.
Police were overwhelmed. When a store was discovered broken into, police had to secure that property. There were people live streaming their looting spree on social media. That video is being used as you read this to secure arrest warrants. Police have the videos and even if they are taken down, it is too late.
At the Roosevelt Mall, armed men with long guns, AR-15’s, shotguns were set up in front of their stores ,They said they would shoot anyone they caught looting their stores. Other stores like a sports shoe store got picked clean within minutes as over 100 young looters, mostly black, raided the store and ran out with boxes of merchandise. The front doors were smashed. They loaded up the stolen goods into cars and took off.
Cameras caught it all. License plate readers will help police find a good percentage of the thieves. Some got arrested. One male was on the ground at the mall , arrested for looting .Police said he was armed with a gun. Down the block at Cottman and Horrocks, police had several people in custody for breaking into the T-Mobile store. They were all brought to the 25th District.That was the holding area.
ALEX LLOYD GROSS/Photo-Delaware Valley News.com Police secure a Game Stop store on the Roosevelt Boulevard. A sledge hammer rests on the ground.
Detectives were overwhelmed They had a list of stores to secure video from and investigate crime scenes. No sooner was the Roosevelt Mall flooded with cops, a cash for gold store directly across the street was broken into. Arrests were made. At 12:15 AM Cottman Avenue looked like the evening rush hour. The difference was it was dark and some people were racing through the streets with no lights. During a police pursuit of a looter through Lawncrest and Olney, multiple looters were following in cars or on bikes.
Alex Lloyd Gross Photo-Delaware Valley News.com heavily armed men stand guard at a jewelry store and show store at the Roosevelt Mall.
In some areas, ATV’s and dirt bikes were racing through the streets with impunity. Police called in resources from the State Police to close exit ramps to Aramingo Avenue. People that busted their asses to start a business, saw thousands of hours worth of hard work and long hours evaporated in less than 15 minutes. That is how long it took to strip a store.
Alex Lloyd Gross Photo-Delaware Valley News.com A suspected looter wishes he stayed home as he is questioned inside a police van.
Even though the family of Eddie Irizarry pleaded for peace, those protests stopped being about Mark Dial and his actions, the second the first looter broke into a store to steal something they did not need. the actions of the looters stopped being about Irizarry and justice. It was about getting what you can. These stores are in peoples neighborhoods. Some were looted so badly the owners will close up and not return, or will move to the suburbs. Few of those looting last night and into this morning knew who Irizarry was or even cared.