It was a bright sunny spring day on Wednesday, but you really couldn’t tell inside Golden Apple Watch and Jewelry Repair on East Fayette Street because its windows and doors were boarded up. The glass had been knocked out two days before when rioters swept through portions of downtown.
The looters helped themselves to diamond watches, silver jewelry and “grillz,” jewelry that is worn over the teeth. Saleh Mandour, the store’s owner, and his son Marwan Mandour, estimated the looters made off with about $50,000 in merchandise. The windows remain boarded over because police who responded said they didn’t have time to take a report because of the unrest, and the landlord’s insurance won’t replace the windows without a report. As far as the stolen merchandise goes, the store will likely have to eat the loss because it wasn’t insured.
“We don’t know what to do,” Mandour said.
As peaceful protests over the death of 25-year-old Freddie Gray from injuries suffered while in police custody mutated into riots on Monday, businesses in parts of the city were targeted. A looted and burned-out CVS store at the corner of Pennsylvania and North avenues has become emblematic of the destruction that rocked the city.
But exactly how much and what help residents will get from government agencies is still being worked out. Gov. Larry Hogan said on Tuesday that the state would be working with the U.S. Small Business Administration to help local businesses that may not have insurance recover from the riots. Rachel Howard, spokeswoman for the SBA in Baltimore, said it’s still unclear what aid will be made available to these businesses, and she directed questions to the White House.
Vivian Laxton, a spokeswoman for the Maryland Insurance Administration, said it’s too soon to know how many insurance claims will be filed or what the overall damage to local businesses amounts to. But she said the administration is offering businesses with insurance assistance on filing claims and the state has asked carriers to expedite the adjudication of those claims.
As for Saleh and Marwan Mandour, they hope to have the repairs to the store begin next week and to slowly begin getting more merchandise in to replace what thieves stole and start doing business again. Despite the break-in on Monday, and a beating suffered by an employee, Saleh Marwan said he wants to start over again in Baltimore and believes the area is still safe.
“I know this happened because of protesters. But what else can you do? I stay,” he said.