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Uptown business owner victim of looting during protests: “It was disheartening”

“It's your worst nightmare to see on the screen everything you've worked for being burglarized," the small business owner said.

An uptown Charlotte business owner was a victim of looting after protests got violent Saturday and he says he had just reopened the store days before after it was closed because of the coronavirus shutdown.

James Mack says he posted signs in the window of his store in the Epicenter saying it was a black owned business, but that was not enough to stop suspects from smashing the glass and committing even more crimes once they got inside.

Security cameras were rolling overnight Saturday when peaceful protests turned to violent crimes.  The video shows these suspects working to smash the glass door to get inside Epic Times Watches and Chains.

"It was disheartening,” Mack said.  “It's your worst nightmare to see on the screen everything you've worked for being burglarized."

Once inside the suspected thieves destroyed even more glass displays and stole countless pieces of jewelry all costing up to $20,000.  That's even more expense less than a week after the small business had just reopened following the coronavirus shutdown.

“It hurt,” Mack said.  “It's like a double hurt."

Charlotte-Mecklenburg police say moving forward they still want to allow lawful demonstrations, but officers still have a duty to serve and protect.

"We're going to protect life and property and that includes small businesses," said Charlotte-Mecklenburg Deputy Chief Johnny Jennings.

Meanwhile Mack is left to clean up the mess.  But he shared a plea to the vandalizing suspects.

"My message right now is one of God bless you," Mack said.  “We need to stop doing things in the spur of the moment and in the middle of all this exciting stuff because it has repercussions."

Mack says he still plans to continue business and not shut down.  But he adds now more than ever it's important that everyone support small businesses.

A Go Fund Me has been set up to help Mack reopen the store.  As of Tuesday afternoon more than $2.500 has been raised.

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