Chicago cleans up after looting devastates Michigan Avenue, Loop, Gold Coast; More than 100 arrested, police say

Chicago News
CHICAGO — Downtown Chicago looks very different Tuesday morning following the widespread property damage and looting that took place Monday.

Streets in the Loop were quiet, with an increased police presence. City officials put restrictions in place to keep people out of the Loop and downtown business district from 8 p.m. Monday to 6 a.m. Tuesday.

Thousands of people came into downtown Sunday night into Monday morning looting stores, breaking windows, clashing with police, and causing widespread damage all over the downtown area.

Chicago restricts access to downtown streets, bridges, limits transit overnight after looting

“Waking up it’s sad, it’s such a beautiful city. It’s just being destroyed in front of our eyes,” said Maddy Quinn, Chicago resident.

Two people were shot, 13 police officers were injured and more than 100 arrests were made, Chicago police said.

Videos posted on social media showed large crowds rushing into stores on Michigan Avenue, State Street parts of the Gold Coast neighborhood, South Loop and Near North Sides.

“This was not an organized protest. Rather, this was an incident of pure criminality,” CPD superintendent David Brown said Monday.

According to Brown, more than 400 officers were deployed after officers were notified of social media posts encouraging people to go to the Loop and loot businesses.

“Criminals took to the streets with the confidence that there would be no consequences for their actions,” Brown said.

Kim Foxx defends response to Chicago looting, says offenders will be brought to justice

Looters converge on Mag Mile, Gold Coast stores

Retail hit squads crisscrossed the Magnificent Mile after midnight. Chicago’s prized Gold Coast has been tarnished for the second time in less than three months.

The ABC7 I-Team obtained a social media post that Chicago police detectives said directed looters to converge on Gold Coast stores starting at 12 a.m. Monday. The post points looters away from the South, West and East sides, and instead tells them to target downtown and the North Side. Looters are encouraged to bring tools, ski masks and gloves.

Downtown cameras captured crowds of looters just after midnight moving on Magnificent Mile stores including Macy’s at Water Tower, Gucci, Nordstrom, and other high-end clothing, jewelry and watch boutiques on the adjoining retail corridors. Roving teams of quick strike retail thieves swept up Michigan Avenue and across Oak Street over to Rush and up to Division.

WATCH: Ronald McDonald House vandalized during widespread looting, property damage in Chicago

At sun-up, the damage was apparent: smashed windows, ransacked stores, emptied display cases and cleared out shelves.

The looted stores are being shored up with plywood for now, hoping to rebuild and re-open again.

“It does feel like the perfect storm. The global pandemic, civil unrest and then this kind of physical violence, property damage. It’s incredibly difficult,” said Kimberly Bares, CEO of The Magnificent Mile Association.

The social media posts started in reaction to a police-involved shooting in Englewood Sunday evening, Brown said.

Englewood police shooting may have sparked Chicago looting, some residents say CPD raised tensions at scene

Stores looted, damaged overnight in downtown Chicago

Shops that had only recently taken down the boards from their windows following the widespread looting and destruction following the death of George Floyd in May and June are boarded up once again. Small, family-owned jewelers in the Loop are wondering how much more of this they can take.

During the chaos, people ran from stores with armloads of merchandise and an ATM was dragged across the street at State and Lake. All of it was done with no apparent concern for the multitude of cameras capturing it all live as it happened.

“You spend your whole life trying to put this together and this has nothing to do with protesting,” said Garry Zimmerman, owner of Windy City Diamonds. “This is 100% to do with what can we go out and loot and steal and break for fun. And why??”

VIDEO: 2nd ward Alderman Brian Hopkins reacts to widespread looting, damage in downtown Chicago area

Zimmerman said his shop on Jewelers Row has been hit three times now; it was completely destroyed during the looting over Memorial weekend. No merchandise has ever actually been stolen, as all the jewelry is kept locked in a safe that looters tried and failed to get to.

“It took six and a half weeks to rebuild the store,” he said. “I’m open for a week and they break in again and destroy our cases. It’s so heart-wrenching. We’re very close to now saying, pretty soon you’re not going to see any stores on the street anymore. They’ll all be either upstairs in the building or out of the city. It’s not safe. Who wants to go through this over and over and over again for no reason?”

WATCH: Mayor Lightfoot, CPD Supt. Brown address overnight looting in Chicago

Mayor Lori Lightfoot said Monday that Chicago police will work with other city agencies to enforce the access restrictions and make sure looting doesn’t extend to other neighborhoods.

“To our residents, I want to make sure we’re doing everything we can to restore your homes and businesses,” Lightfoot said. “And to those who engage in that criminal behavior, let’s be clear, we are coming for you.”

WATCH: Looters break in to State Street Potbelly restaurant

Witnesses described the vandalism as a “coordinated effort” with multiple cars dropping off groups of people, who then smash-and-grab merchandise in the store, and take off running in opposite directions before police could respond.

WATCH: ATM stolen, left in downtown Chicago street

Two people were shot in separate instances in the midst of the looting, police said.

A security guard was wounded in a shooting shortly before 4 a.m. in the 400 block of North Clark Street, according to Chicago Fire Department officials. He was taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital in critical condition.

A second man was shot around 2 a.m. near Madison Street and Wabash Avenue, fire officials said. He was also taken to Northwestern in critical condition.

Gunshots were heard by ABC7’s Jessica D’Onofrio near State and Lake early Monday morning as police responded to widespread looting and property damage.

WATCH: Gunshots heard during live report on looting

Chicago police confirmed an officer exchanged gunfire with a suspect Monday near Michigan Avenue and Lake Street.
According to police, officers were arresting a suspected looter when a vehicle traveling southbound on Michigan Avenue stopped at Lake Street and fired “several rounds” at the officers.

No officers were injured in the shooting, police said.

Police did return fire but it’s unclear if anyone from the vehicle was hit, CPD spokesperson Tom Aherney confirmed in a tweet.

COPA is investigating the shooting.

WATCH: Apple Store looted, vandalized in Lincoln Park

Another group of looters vandalized the Apple Store in Lincoln Park, police said.

Looters were able to knock down the glass door to the storefront located at Halsted Street and Clybourn Avenue and get inside, police said.

It was unclear what merchandise the looters were able to make it out with, police said.

Police said they believe the vandalism at the Apple Store was coordinated at the same time as the vandalism at Best Buy and in the downtown area.

The CTA suspended bus and train service downtown for several hours, but started to resume service just before 8:00 a.m.

Pace has suspended routes 755, 850, 851 and 855 into the Loop until further notice.

City officials temporarily raised all downtown bridges and closed highway exits to the Loop while police worked to assess the damage.

Sun-Times Media contributed to this report.

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