GREENSBORO, N.C. — Imagine being alone at a downtown Greensboro store in the middle of a tense and heated protest. The only thing you have with you is a cellphone to capture it all.
That was the reality for some business owners along Elm Street who watched as looters smashed into stores, taking what they wanted.
With only her phone in hand, the owner of Vintage to Vogue Boutique, Jennifer Graf, started recording on Facebook Live.
“All I knew was I had to keep the live stream on so that if something happened, A.) it’s documented; B.) people are seeing it firsthand,” she said.
Graf watched as vandals broke the glass windows of her neighbors’ stores.
“They’re looting the skate shop store,” she screamed on the live video.
As fear settled in for Graf, across the street, Daniel Weatherington was trying to save his store, Gate City Candy Company.
“Throwing rocks, bricks, there was a bench outside the store that they tried to throw,” he said.
Graf said the same handful of people who attacked Weatherington’s store came to her store afterward. She began pleading with them not to shatter her windows.
“Don’t do that. Please don’t do that please,” she said. “Please don’t! I’m begging you not to please, please don’t.”
Graf said it was peaceful protestors who saved her shop that night.
While she’s thankful for that, she has one message for those who turned to violence.
“Do unto others as you would have done to you,” she said.
She doesn’t want the message of the protestors to get lost in the violence of others. She said it’s too important of a message behind the peaceful marches.
Both store owners wish a curfew was in place a little sooner in downtown because it has helped the past couple of days.
Weatherington said he will be ready to defend his store this weekend as a large protest is scheduled to happen.
As for how he plans to cover the damage he tells FOX8 news, insurance was not an option because it does not cover civil disputes. He will have to pay for the damages out of pocket.
While property can be quickly repaired, Graf said her sense of security won’t be an easy fix.