An image from a news report of the Long Beach store burning

Looting and Arson Hit Armenian-Owned Stores in Southern California

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LOS ANGELES/LONG BEACH, Calif. – According to reports on news and social media, Armenian-owned stores were among the victims of rioters and looters in various parts of Los Angeles and Southern California over the last weekend as social order broke down following widespread protests of the George Floyd murder of May 25.

Among these were stores pillaged and set on fire in the downtown jewelry district on Friday night, May 29.

 

(a video of the destruction at the Khachadourian family jewelry store in downtown Los Angeles which took place sometime after midnight on May 30)

According to an Associated Press report, in the neighborhood of West Hollywood, Los Angeles, windows of shops along trendy Melrose Avenue were all broken on the evening of Saturday, May 30. Alan Kokozian, owner of Tony K’s Shoe Store, related that his entire product stock was either stolen or damaged, and he himself was hit in the head with a flying bottle as he tried to persuade looters to spare his store.

On Sunday, while examining the hole in his roof caused by arson, Kokozian said, “This was not a political protest. This was basically a bunch of thieves getting together taking advantage of a situation.”

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Armenian stores were among those damaged or robbed in Beverly Hills on the night of May 30.

Jack’s Jewelers in Santa Monica after being looted

Jack’s Jewelers, founded in 1982, was among the stores robbed on May 31 in the neighborhood of Santa Monica. It belongs to Jack Sarkissian. In addition to the merchandise, equipment and files stolen from Jack’s Jewelers, the restaurant next door was burned, and so the building of the store was also “red-tagged,” meaning it is unsafe to inhabit.

Fire engulfed a Men’s Suit Outlet store in Long Beach on May 31 which belongs to Vasken Samuelian. For a CBS video report, see https://cbsloc.al/36VoP8w.

Pharmacy manager Eve Bandikian at Kovacs Care Pharmacy in Van Nuys, owned by Arsen Nazaryan (photo from a GoFundMe account after the looting: https://www.gofundme.com/f/20vg498emo)

The Van Nuys neighborhood of Los Angeles, in the San Fernando Valley, was hit by arson and looting on the night of June 1. Armenian-owned or staffed businesses were among the victims.

An alleged social media post calling for plundering the Glendale Galleria

Nighttime curfews were imposed in Los Angeles County starting on May 31, while social media posts calling for plundering in areas like Glendale, California, with its large Armenian population, were spreading. Glendale Mayor Vrej Agajanian attempted to reassure the local populace in a video announcement of the curfew that night and on the following evening. He stated on June 1 that the Glendale police department was present throughout the community during the prior night, which passed peacefully, and residents would continue to be protected while the city fully supported the right of residents for protest and self-expression. The curfew was renewed for June 2.

Topics: riots

See below Mayor Agajanian’s May 31 message.

 

The nearby city of Pasadena declared its own curfew starting on the night of May 30 and the following two nights, which passed without serious incident.

Family businesses without sufficient insurance are already beginning fundraisers. See, for example, https://www.gofundme.com/f/small-family-business-lost-everything-in-la-riots, https://www.gofundme.com/f/help-local-armenian-shop-jack039s-jewelers-recover and https://www.gofundme.com/f/20vg498emo.

Meanwhile, police and the FBI continue to gather footage of looting in order to prepare for new arrests.

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