LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — The sound of electric saws and hammers could be heard throughout downtown Los Angeles Monday as businesses braced for possible unrest following Tuesday night’s election results.
“Because we’re scared,” Sean Zendedel, owner of Zen Global, said. “We don’t want to get looted.”
Zendedel said he just opened his Jewelry District business in August, but has already been robbed and has heard the stories of looting from the spring.
“One of my cousins got looted for $2 million worth of merchandise right when the riots happened,” he said.
The Jewelry District was hit especially hard at the beginning of June when the metal gates couldn’t hold back looters — which is why many store owners have now covered their street-facing windows with wood planks.
“Going and vandalizing property, that’s unfair,” Zendedel said. “We’re all working. We’re all working class men.”
And while the cost of boarding up a business is not cheap, costing Zendedel a little over $3,000, business owners have been more than willing to pay for a little peace of mind.
“We’ve boarded up quite a few, boarded up this whole building right now,” Justin Zazueta, who works for Swinerton, said. “We’ve been out here for three or four days, I would say.”
And it’s not just downtown L.A. that’s preparing for the worst. Businesses in Pasadena have also taken to closing up shop and boarding up their windows.
“Because of the politics, everybody is scared,” one woman said. “I’ve never seen the U.S. like this. This is the first time I’ve seen this thing happen.”
Business owners said boarding up their storefronts was a tough choice, because they want to stay open and serve their customers.
“I’m praying, man,” Zendedel said. “All we can do is pray and just take precautions.”
Businesses in Beverly Hills have also begun boarding up their windows and doors ahead of the election. The city has already said it would shut down Rodeo Drive to pedestrian and vehicle traffic starting on Election Day through Wednesday.