West Hollywood business owners board up storefronts ahead of possible election turmoil

Saturday, October 31, 2020
WeHo storefronts boarded up ahead of Election Day
The anxiety level in West Hollywood can be measured by the number of storefronts boarded with plywood.

WEST HOLLYWOOD, Calif. (KABC) -- The anxiety level in West Hollywood can be measured by the number of storefronts boarded with plywood.

Theo owner of Wax salon, Lindsay Pierce, never imagined when she opened in January that she would have to spend $10,000 for a new security camera system, more insurance and a temporary nighttime security guard.

Pierce is paying for more plywood because she can't afford $13,000 metal shutters.

"Because of the election, we really don't know what is going to happen in the next few days," Pierce said.

Wax salon was one of many stores on Melrose Avenue that were plundered last May during a period of nationwide protests.

Santa Monica declares curfew after looting, fires break out blocks away from protest

Looters broke into multiple stores across Southern California on Sunday amid a violent weekend that started with mostly peaceful protests over the death of George Floyd.

Pierce watched on security cameras as thieves broke into her business and destroyed it.

"I just felt ... betrayed. You feel helpless," said Pierce.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department is urging retailers to decide for themselves whether to board up.

Deputies throughout the county will go on tactical alert on Sunday. Extra patrols will be deployed in West Hollywood starting Saturday in case crowds gather for Halloween. The city's official celebration was canceled.

Barriers are on standby to shut down streets if necessary.

"We also monitor if people are making any threats against the community, against property, against law enforcement and we obviously take those very seriously," said Lt. William Moulder of the sheriff's West Hollywood station.

Pierce said she understands protesters seeking racial justice, but not the opportunists who join a mob and victimize struggling businesses

"We are really just scraping the bottom of the barrel," she said. "So stop and think: Are you actually doing this for a cause? Or are you actually doing this because you feel there is no consequence?"