Downtown business owners struggle to keep hope with nothing new in ‘looting’ cases

Local News

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — About a dozen business owners in downtown Syracuse say they’re still waiting for answers about who looted their stores on the first night of protests in Syracuse.

Voltage Video Games on South Warren Street and Ambition Upstate on West Fayette Street were two of the worst-hit overnight on May 30, when peaceful protests turned destructive.

“To me, it feels like there were two groups, ones who were mostly peaceful and others who took advantage of the distraction and said ‘Hey police are preoccupied,'” Voltage Video Games owner Mike Saltzman said.

Saltzman captured the damage first hand on his cellphone. He had to step over strewn video games and DVD’s, empty console boxes, old Nintendo cartridges and broken glass.

“It was so disastrously bad,” described Saltzman as he recalled the shock and horror of walking through the looted store. He estimates that one night cost his tens of thousands of dollars.

“Whoever did it hurt the community,” Ambition Upstate owner Nick Giarrusso. His luxury shoe and apparel store was also hit that night.

“A lot of kids that came in, they didn’t want to sit at their home lives so that came into the store just to sit down just to talk to me. [Whoever did this] they ruined that for them,” he said.

Saltzman and Giarrusso both had security systems and surveillance cameras, which are meant to deter theft but aren’t equipped to handle something like looting.

“We were able to clean up pretty quickly, it’s just that all the stuff that was missing it’s like we can’t replace that,” Saltzman said.

Many the vintage video games and older consoles he’d built up over years of collecting aren’t easily replaced or easily found even with surveillance video. Saltzman learned that after posting his video to Facebook.

“People who commented on the post kept saying they knew who that person was and had clear photos to back it up,” said Saltzman.

He added, “we’ve also seen leads of people trying to sell our stuff, so we have names we have information, we have passed that along, but haven’t heard anything from police.”

A Syracuse Police spokesperson told NewsChannel 9 as of Wednesday there were no new updates in either of these cases or the several others.

Anyone with information about the looting on the weekend of May 30 should give the Criminal Investigations Division a call at (315) 442-5222.

Fortunately for Saltzman a customer started ‘GoFundMe’ page has helped cut some of his losses and has raised $14,185 as of this story being posted.

He hopes to reopen Voltage Video Games very soon.


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