TAMPA, Fla. - At closing time every night, without fail, this store owner says their steel security gate goes down.
“But you know, when there’s 40 or 60 people coming in, and lifting it, you know, things happen,” said owner Koki.
The sort of thing that happened outside Gold ‘N Diamonds in Tampa on Saturday night was a break-in and massive looting. Koki says she was watching it all unfold on TV.
“I was shocked,” she said. “My husband and the employees left five minutes before [the looters] got here.”
Koki says a large group was able to push the security gate up and break in through their double glass. The looters did more than $100,000 in damage.
“They got in, but once they got in, they kind of got stuck there,” she said. “And by then, the cops arrived on the bikes, which I was watching on the news myself. It was just sad.”
Koki says she supports the right to protest, but would never condone the looting.
“I don’t want anyone else getting hurt; I don’t want anyone in general getting hurt, you know? I don’t want to repeat the hate.”
She knows she doesn’t speak for all of the businesses, but wants to send this message to those who looted her family’s livelihood:
“Protest,” she said. “But don’t take advantage of the situation, because it’s not fair to people who support you.”