Central Florida businesses board up, close early due to potential looting

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — With the growing concern about rioting and looting, some Central Florida businesses are boarding up or closing early.

While a handful of businesses in the region have been targeted, the rioting hasn’t hit the magnitude of other cities.

Adams Jewelry on Corrine Drive was broken into over the weekend. The owner of the shopping center stayed late as a precaution and called the police.

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The windows had to be boarded up after a window was smashed out. Police said that was thieves taking advantage of what’s going on with the George Floyd protest.

“It's really sad that some people are negatively impacting the community… and taking advantage of a really sad situation,” said Abraham McAllister, who works nearby.

Businesses in Winter Garden are also dealing with issues. Police had to block off Winter Garden Village with barriers over the weekend because of threats of violence.

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Police said they had officers securing the area, and some businesses closed up early Sunday as a precaution.

Other businesses, such as Walmart in east Orlando closed at 5 p.m., which surprised customers who showed up to find an empty parking lot, and stacks of merchandise blocking the doors from the inside.

“They should be open when we need. Some people (have) kids. Some people need diapers. Some people need wipes,” Walmart customer Tracie Pearden said.

In a statement, Walmart said: “We’re monitoring this situation closely as it develops and will continue closing stores in select markets as a safety precaution for our customers and associates.”

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In downtown Orlando, there were signs on the doors showing Publix was closing early, and the entire storefront of the DGX in Orlando was covered in plywood.

People in Central Florida are hoping precautions like this won’t be needed.

“I would just be protesting for the guy that got killed, Peardon said. “I wouldn’t be taking it to the extreme to burn down buildings."

Jeff Deal

Jeff Deal, WFTV.com

I joined the Eyewitness News team as a reporter in 2006.

Adam Poulisse, WFTV.com

Adam Poulisse joined WFTV in November 2019.