Todd Biesold, the owner of Merlino Foods in Seattle, says a group of business owners ‘basically tax ourselves and provide services that the city will not provide for us.’
A Seattle business owner told “Fox & Friends” on Thursday that vandals have targeted his warehouse hundreds of times, noting that “every day is a battle” – especially, he said, because city officials have done nothing to help.
“Our business has been tagged, vandalized…we’ve had our yards broken into and our trucks had part removed, battery cables disabled and removed, and it just happens over and over again,” Todd Biesold, the owner of Merlino Foods, said.
“It’s been going on for a number of years,” he added, noting that “COVID has exacerbated the situation.”
Businesses across the country, including Seattle, have also been subjected to vandalism and looting during riots, which were sparked by the death of George Floyd, a Black man who died in Minneapolis police custody in May of 2020.
Biesold said his business is located in SODO, a neighborhood in Seattle that is part of the city’s industrial district and is located south of the downtown area.
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He noted that even before the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, a group of business owners “created a business improvement district,” where “we basically tax ourselves and provide services that the city will not provide for us.”
“We buy extra Seattle police patrols, we do clean up, we do graffiti clean-up, we have needle clean up trainings to try to support businesses, and try to pretty much protect ourselves,” Biesold continued.
Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment. However, on Tuesday she reportedly said that the city is working on new ways to protect freedom of speech while holding protesters accountable for acts of vandalism committed during demonstrations.
“We will support those people who protest peacefully, but the people who come just bent on destruction and committing crime, we won’t condone that at all,” KOMO News reported Durkan said.
The media outlet reported that her comments came hours after graffiti was splashed on walls and storefront windows were shattered during a protest over the shooting death of 20-year-old Daunte Wright by a police officer near Minneapolis.
The officer, Kim Potter, a 26-year veteran of the Brooklyn Center Police Department, who quit her job two days after Wright’s death, was charged Wednesday with second-degree manslaughter in what her chief said appeared to be a case of confusing her taser with her handgun.
The incident has led to four straight days of bitter conflict between protesters and police in Minnesota, and sparked protests across the country as well.
Biesold stressed on Thursday that while city leaders in Seattle may not condone the vandalism, “they don’t do anything” to stop it.
He noted that the vandals “often don’t get caught and if they do, they’re out the next day and they’re out doing it again.”
“And then to add insult to injury on the taggings, if you don’t clean up your graffiti, you get a note from the city that basically says, ‘Clean it up or we are going to fine you,’” he added.
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Biesold noted that “there are a lot of businesses that are packing up and leaving” because of the situation in Seattle, adding that he has considered it himself – but pointed out that he is “not there yet.”
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The Associated Press contributed to this report.