Police announce more looting arrests, estimate 200 businesses hit during May 31 unrest

The Long Beach Police Department today released a list of additional people arrested on suspicion of looting or attempted robbery during the unrest that followed the city’s massive protests on May 31.

Police said they’re still gathering evidence and reports to tally the damage from that night, but they believe about 200 businesses were affected during the mayhem, some of which was broadcast live by TV cameras.

The eight new arrests—mostly for looting—are in addition to the 28 arrests made and 56 citations issued for breaking curfew, looting, burglary or other crimes on the night of May 31 and early morning of June 1.

The new arrests come thanks to a specially formed task force assigned to sort through that night’s destruction, according to the LBPD. In all, police said, the task force’s efforts have led to 12 arrests, two burglary citations, 28 arrest warrants and 15 cases forwarded to the district attorney’s office for consideration of felony charges.

A majority of the suspects reside in Long Beach and the surrounding cities of Hawaiian Gardens, Bellflower, Paramount and Wilmington. Three reside in Los Angeles, one in Compton and one in Moreno Valley.

According to the police, the task force identified suspects by using video and photo evidence collected from various sources, including business and residential surveillance systems, social media, news coverage, and submissions to the LBPD’s online evidence portal.

“We promised our residents and business owners that the individuals who looted our businesses would be held accountable,” the LBPD said in a press release. “The task force will continue to review all submitted photos and video evidence thoroughly.”

Locals, however, have questioned whether Long Beach was prepared for the unrest and asked how police chose where to allocate resources. LBPD Chief Robert Luna has defended the department’s response, saying police didn’t anticipate that protesters would number in the thousands, which forced officers to hold back from making arrests for safety reasons.

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Alena Maschke writes about all things business and beyond for the Long Beach Business Journal/Long Beach Post. Born and raised in Germany, she first fell in love with California during an exchange year at UCLA. After receiving her master's degree in journalism from Columbia University in 2017, she returned to the Golden State with an appetite for great stories, pupusas and the occasional Michelada.