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Carbondale businesses vandalized; demonstrators, city denounce crimes
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Carbondale businesses vandalized; demonstrators, city denounce crimes

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Businesses vandalized

Sally Beauty in Carbondale sits empty Monday after being vandalized Sunday night.

CARBONDALE — Several businesses on the east side of Carbondale were vandalized late Sunday night, having windows broken and attempts were made to loot the businesses.

The Carbondale Police Department responded to multiple burglaries at local businesses between late Sunday night and early Monday morning, according to a city news release.

As officers responded to alarms from businesses at University Mall, they saw “several vehicles were seen leaving from the south side of the parking lot near J.C. Penney” and found “forced entry” to the businesses, according to the release. The looters were found to have stolen property from J.C. Penney, Game Stop, Old Navy, Hibbett Sports and Finish Line.

After that incident, police responded to a burglary at Main Street Liquors and Tobacco on East Main Street after an alarm sounded. When they arrived, they found the business had been broken into and the property was stolen.

“It was discovered there had been 5 to 6 suspects who were described as wearing hooded sweatshirts, masks, and gloves,” according to the release.

Police then responded to an alarm at Blue Fish Liquors on 2335 Sweets Drive in reference to a report of seven suspects inside the store stealing property. Officers arrived and found the business had been broken into and property was stolen. The suspects were described as males and females.

At about 3:30 a.m., officers responded to Sally’s Beauty Supply in reference to an alarm. Officers arrived and found the business had been broken into and property stolen.

Businesses vandalized

A broom is leaned up against a shelf at Sally Beauty on Monday after being vandalized Sunday night.

The vandalism comes as a contrast to the peaceful demonstrations Sunday in Carbondale, where demonstrators called for an end to police brutality and mourned the death of George Floyd, an African American man who died while in police custody in Minneapolis last week.

Local business patrons walked past the Sally Beauty Supply on Monday morning, turning their heads reading “closed” next to a frowny-face painted on one of the business’ unbroken windows.

“That’s where everybody goes shopping at and it’s just totally messed up,” said Dre Long, who said he recently moved from Wisconsin to Carbondale. “Why do you have to destroy the community where everybody goes shopping at?”

Businesses vandalized

'Closed' is written on a window at Sally Beauty on Monday after being vandalized Sunday night.

Long said businesses are already struggling because of the pandemic and vandals are “just making it worse,” while adding that Carbondale is a destination for many. He added that he doesn’t believe it was right for people to attempt to loot in town. “They need to stop the looting — that’s stolen property.”

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The City of Carbondale thanked “those who gathered Sunday for a candlelight vigil at Turley Park honoring the life of George Floyd” and thanked the demonstrators who peacefully marched downtown following the vigil through a Monday news release.

“We understand your frustrations and feel them too,” Roni LeForge, City of Carbondale public relations officer, said in the release. “The City of Carbondale stands with you in sadness and solidarity.”

In response to the vandalism and burglaries Sunday night into Monday, LeForge said the city “is committed to serving the people of Carbondale in a fair, equitable, and respectful manner but cannot accept vandalism and burglary, or acts of violence that compromise the safety of our community.”

She asks residents “to remain calm during this chaotic time” and the city understands citizens’ needs to demonstrate but they “encourage everyone to do so responsibly and peacefully.”

Local organizers and members of the Black Lives Matter movement also denounced the burglaries and vandalism throughout the night saying, in part, “any actions taken by vigilantes after the protest were in no way affiliated with the vigil and march centered in Turley Park.”

“A non-violent approach was maintained before, during, and after each gathering surrounding the BLM and #JusticeForGeorgeFloyd movement,” the Black Lives Matter Carbondale statement said. “As America continues to see its major cities destroyed by looting, radical rioters, and racial extremists, we in no way stand for the destruction of residences/businesses in the Carbondale community."

When asked about details regarding the burglaries, vandalism and the role of the police department during the peace demonstrations, Jeff Grubbs, Carbondale chief of police, declined to comment. Randy Mathis, City of Carbondale community resource officer, said questions would need to be forwarded to LeForge.

Carbondale Mayor Mike Henry, responding to the questions, said there doesn’t seem to be a correlation between the burglaries and the demonstrations.

“We think we had some other people trying to take advantage of the situation,” Henry said. “Our crime scene investigators have been out since early this morning working the scenes and hopefully will come up with enough evidence to track some folks down."

The mayor added there have not yet been any individuals detained in relation to the overnight vandalism and burglaries.

The City of Carbondale Police Department is investigating the burglaries and anyone with information is encouraged to contact the City of Carbondale Police Department at 618-457-3200.

Southern Illinoisans hold demonstrations in response to George Floyd's death

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Brian Munoz is a correspondent for The Southern.

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