South loop

South Loop Business Owner Looking for Good Samaritan Who Helped Him When Looters Attacked

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A South Loop business owner is looking for the Good Samaritan who helped to protect the establishment after he was assaulted by looters late last month.

On May 30 at approximately 9:30 p.m., looters stormed into Warehouse Liquors in the 600 block of South Wabash in Chicago’s South Loop neighborhood. The store’s owner, Gene Charness, got a startling phone call from his security company, and raced to the shop.

“There were 15 or 20 looters inside,” he said. “I came and directed them all to leave, and by and large they did.”

One of the remaining looters didn’t comply, and violently knocked the 62-year-old man to the glass-strewn floor. Charness was able to get up and push the looters behind a metal gate, but one of them sprayed a fire extinguisher into his face.

“There were people throwing bottles and cans at me, and spit in my general direction,” he said. “Some fellow comes to the door and says that he wants to kill me.”

Then, all of the sudden, a young woman stepped up to help.

“She posted herself in front of the door and told the people that it was a black-owned business, and that they should leave it alone,” he said. “By and large, it worked.”

For at least two hours, the brave woman stood guard, but the store’s owners only know her as “CeCe.”

“She’s a young black woman, and she convinced people that it was her business, and to stop and go away,” Riley Crane, another employee of the store, said. “That really helped Gene out.”

Police finally arrived three hours later. Now, Charness has seven stitches in his arm and a knot on his head where he was hit with a bottle, but he feels very fortunate that it wasn’t worse, and he credits “CeCe” for that.

“It’s something she felt she wanted to do,” he said. “It’s a testament to the goodness of mankind.”

Now, Charness wants to find “CeCe,” and to thank her for everything that she did.

“I love her, and I’ll never be able to repay the kindness she brought forward,” he said.

The business had its soft reopening on Wednesday, and the owners hope that it can fully reopen and be stronger than ever.

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