Rioters destroy businesses’ windows, loot U Liquors

by Nathan Halverson

The rioters stood outside the liquor store chanting, “Do it! Do it!”

Moments earlier, a group of them had rammed a bike rack through the front window of U Liquors at 901 Washington Ave. S.E.

The group was building the courage to dash through the window and loot from the rows of liquor. A man cleared the remaining glass shards with a few sweeps of a board.

At 11:53 p.m. Saturday, the first looter advanced into the store. Between nine and 14 men followed him. The looting lasted for approximately seven minutes before police armed in riot gear cleared the scene, launching tear gas and running in file down the street.

Although U Liquors was the only business known to be looted, other businesses around campus sustained damage.

Rioters smashed the front windows of Erik’s Bike Shop.

“I was stunned,” store manager James Freitag said.

He had stayed in Dinkytown because he was worried about possible riots and was in the Loring Pasta Bar when he got word someone had smashed the window.

When Freitag arrived, he was told the vandal had been detained. Employees at Shuang Cheng and Autographics confronted the man who broke the window and demanded his name and address.

Freitag said the man expressed remorse and promised to pay for the damage. According to Freitag, the man said, “I did it. I’m sorry. I want to make good on it.”

Freitag filed a police report Sunday morning but said he will not submit the man’s name to police if he pays the $900 it cost to fix the window, which was repaired the next morning.

Windows were also smashed at the U.S. Bank on 14th Avenue and at Dinkytown Wine and Spirits. There were no signs of looting.

“I think it cheapens the Gophers’ win,” said George Medich, owner of U Liquors. “It’s the few that ruin it for the rest of us.”

Medich said nothing like this has happened in the past, but the looting does not change his relationship with students. Pointing at two employees cleaning up broken glass, Medich said they were students too, and he was not going to let a few people change his opinion of them.

Looters were seen carrying off a variety of goods from the store. One man emerged with four 1.75-liter bottles of vodka. Another came out with Smirnoff Ice, and yet another exited with a two-liter bottle of Coca-Cola.

At some point during the looting, participants smashed the front door and tipped over the two soda machines in front of the store.

Medich said he received a call from the store’s security service, ADT, informing him of the breach. It was unclear whether the video surveillance system recorded the looting.

Medich said estimates of the damage are not yet available. No known arrests have been made.

Nathan Halverson welcomes comments at [email protected]