East LA residents protect Whittier Boulevard businesses against looting

East Los Angeles residents are coming together to protect businesses on Whittier Boulevard. This comes after there was an attempted robbery at the Nike store on the strip, which LASD confirmed.
EAST LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Holding signs with a strong message, community members in East Los Angeles are taking a stand to protect businesses on historic Whittier Boulevard.

"We are out here supporting the local businesses," said Stephan Ruelas, a member of the East LA Klique car club. "You know if they need any help protecting their business like boarding up their windows. Whatever it is they may need, we are here to support them."

Many of the signs the residents held signs that read, 'Not on the boulevard, don't loot here' and 'Protect the barrio.'

"We're barely coming out of this pandemic as it is. Some of these businesses, if you loot them they're not going to survive," said Cesi Chavez, a business owner on Whitter Boulevard.

Many of the people who showed up to share their message of protection are residents from the community, including business owners and car club members.

"We have different people from the community that are ex-gang members and we now believe in peace," said Chavez. "Everybody should and we should all come together."

The community members have been setting up outside of the Nike store since Tuesday after they found out someone tried to steal from the business, which is now boarded up.

According to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, the suspect was arrested for attempted robbery.

The community members said they're going to be out there for as long as they feel it's needed.
"I stand with the community and all business owners," said Loreli Munoz, a business owner on Whitter Boulevard. "We feel that the governor and the mayor should be doing more right now for us to protect us."

Sheriff's deputies and officers with the California Highway Patrol have stopped by to recognize the community members' actions for the local businesses.

"We just thought we'd come down here and show our support for them to having the courage to come out here and say, 'No looting,'" said Salvador Suarez, a captain with the California Highway Patrol.

The community members said they support the Black Lives Matter movement, but will not tolerate looters who are taking advantage of the protests.

"We are just trying to stop all the madness, the looting that's happening around the cities," said Marco Villalobos. "We don't want it to come over here."

There haven't been any new reports of attempted robberies this week on Whittier Boulevard, according to the sheriff's department.

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