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Iowa City business hopeful in community, not preparing for potential looting

Published: Jun. 2, 2020 at 7:55 PM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - After numerous rumors of potential threats of looting, some eastern Iowa stores closed early Monday night.

As those concerns lingered, Tuesday the employee of one Iowa City business is choosing to have faith in her community, rather than board up.

Cassidy Bell, the director at Ten Thousand Villages, said she is hoping nothing happens, but was made aware of potential risks.

“I was packing up yesterday and one of my neighbors just mentioned that things might get heated tonight, and I should pay attention to what I am doing when I close up and maybe take some extra precautions,” Bell said.

However, rather than prepare for the unknown, Bell is taking a different approach.

“Have faith in the community that we won’t have violence here," Bell said. “I really hope that we don’t.”

Bell said she doesn’t feel the need to take any extra precautions.

“I’m not worried about the cash being stolen, we have a fairly cheap laptop that is our office computer, but it would be impossible for us to remove all of this inventory,” Bell said. “I mean, we are a pretty small store, so even if we take things out of the window, we don’t have far to go.”

Sgt. Derek Frank, with the Iowa City Police Department, said no matter how serious threats of violence or looting are, it’s important that his department share them with the community.

“If we have information that would point us to potential, not even necessarily verifiable, but if there could be some issues in the area of the businesses, we’ll let them know and give them suggestions. Like bringing in all of their merchandise or any other things outside,” Frank said.

Bell said that after months of Coronavirus closures, any damage would add to her financial burden.

“It would be pretty devastating, it’s a tough time and it’s hard to balance that,” Bell said. “I mean I think most of the anger, downtown businesses, we share. And the anger that is surrounding it makes complete sense. It was a senseless act of violence and so to return with other senseless acts of violence, it doesn’t seem that crazy.”

So, Bell and neighboring businesses will remain hopeful.

“I feel lucky to be in Iowa City and have our store here in Iowa City and grateful for our community,” Bell said. “Hopefully we can hold steady and we can find an answer that is peaceful and satisfactory to everybody.”

The Iowa City Police Department said it did not find any threats made Monday night to be credible. Frank said the department is not monitoring anything of real concern for Tuesday.

Copyright 2020 KCRG. All rights reserved.

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