KEY POINTS

  • Two organized crime groups are responsible for the looting in New York City's Soho district 
  • A witness was able to follow the groups for several days amid the George Floyd protests 
  • NYPD officials said they've seen evidence it is an organized crime group and not part of the protesters

Looters targeting high-end luxury stores in New York City’s trendy Soho neighborhood apparently come from rival groups that have planned a “very well-organized looting scheme,” a witness said.

In an interview with the New York Post, Jarrod Jordan revealed that he has been following the looters' movements since the riots started. He said that these groups are not part of the protesters marching the streets and calling for justice for George Floyd's death.

“This is a real business. This isn’t angry protesters in any way, shape or form,” Jordan said. “This is organized crime happening really, really well.”

Jordan started following the looters Saturday (May 30) as they prowled Soho's name brand shops like Chanel, Dior, and Lululemon. He said the looters used out-of-state plates on their cars for scouting the areas early in the day and then return in the evening to break into stores, while the New York Police Department (NYPD) is occupied at the street protests.

5185671790_f3f41570ab_k The Chanel boutique in Soho was broken into by looters amid the George Floyd protest. Photo: Flickr

He counted at least five to eight men working as scouts while the group’s numbers would balloon to 40 come looting time. If there were cops nearby, Jordan said that junior members of the group would try to distract the police. They also had lookouts on CitiBikes, who would warn their companions if the cops are coming.

The witness also observed that the rival groups have “some sort of mutual respect” towards each other; thus, they could execute an organized scheme.

“But every now and then I’ll see one of them clock the other and steal a bunch of products," Jordan said.

Jordan was able to take videos of the looters' activities, which he said he would turn over to the NYPD.

NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea said on Fox News Monday (June 1) that he has seen evidence that an organized crime group is behind the looting in Soho. The suspected looters do not appear to be from the city, according to police, and are operating under order of organized criminal gangs. 

To discourage looting and other violence, New York City's Mayor Bill de Blasio imposed an 8:00 p.m. curfew Tuesday (June 2) that will run for a week.

"The curfew is there to allow the police to be able to address any situation where someone is trying to do violence to a person or property," the mayor said.

Despite this, thousands still joined the march and ignored the curfew. CBS New York reporting that some looting still took place.