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Looting costs businesses in major metro areas at least $400M, experts estimate

Evie Fordham

Looting damage adds up to more than $400 million in the 20 largest metropolitan areas in the U.S., according to an estimate from the Anderson Economic Group released Friday.

"The looting is unfortunate,” Brian Peterson, Anderson's director of public policy and economic analysis, said in a statement. “Many states were on the verge of reopening after a two-month-plus COVID-19 closure, and now some of these businesses will not be able to reopen.”

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The analysis covers the period between May 29 and June 3 and includes property damage, lost inventory, cleanup and reconstruction costs, and closure-related lost wages. Anderson's estimates don't include costs to state or local governments that experienced damage or smaller metropolitan areas.

Criminals appear to have taken advantage of large, peaceful protests over the death of George Floyd in police custody to break into businesses from pharmacies to salons throughout the U.S. Kyle Denis, owner of two Apex Outfitter stores in North Carolina, told FOX Business that "every single window" at his downtown Raleigh location was broken on Saturday.

"We were 100 percent looted," Denis said. "Everything’s gone. We came early [Sunday] morning, and we picked up the pieces, cleaned the glass up, boarded everything up."

Coronavirus was already making it difficult for him to get inventory into his stores, which sell outdoor gear, skateboards and more.

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"We already had the chips stacked against us, and then something like this happens ⁠— it’s a gut punch," Denis said.

Even chain retailers are feeling the pain. A Minneapolis Target store that was looted last week may not reopen until the end of the year.

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