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Raleigh business owner grateful for people who protected his store against looters

Kyle Denis owns Apex Outfitter and Board Company at the corner of South Salisbury and West Hargett streets.

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RALEIGH, N.C. — A downtown Raleigh business owner is saying thank you to a group of strangers who stood in front of his business Saturday night to prevent it from being looted.

Kyle Denis owns Apex Outfitter and Board Company at the corner of South Salisbury and West Hargett streets. Denis posted a video to the company's Instagram account showing two women who stood guard outside the store after its windows were smashed.

"People work too hard, too hard," one woman said in the video. Another can be heard saying, "You ain't going to do that in front of me."

Denis said he had been downtown at the earlier protests but was at home in Apex when he got the call from his alarm company about someone breaking into the Raleigh store. He ignored the alarm company's suggestion to stay home and went to the scene, only to find a group of people and some of his employees standing guard outside.

"There was a group of citizens on Hargett Street right in front of our windows, just banded together protecting it," he said.

Denis said the group tried to reason with large crowds and deter them from violence, but things got heated.

"I was outside with a fire extinguisher. One of the women in the video actually pulled out a thing of Mace and was spraying it at people, and it became way more then we could handle," he said.

Denis said he encouraged the group to leave as the crowds got more violent.

After boarding up windows, Denis said he left the shop but two young men on skateboards stayed behind. One the shop's doors was finally broken down, but the young men encouraged looters to leave the shop alone, telling people they were in fact the owners.

Around 1 a.m., Denis said he saw a group of people drive up to the shop via his security cameras. The group went inside and took everything. When he arrived the next day to assess the damage, he said that even the plastic mannequins had been set on fire.

While the experience of seeing his business destroyed was awful, Denis said he is taking solace in the kindness he saw Saturday night.

"I would love to find these people," he said. "I would love to, you know, when the coronavirus goes away, give them big hugs and take them out to dinner and laugh with them and get to know more about them because they will always hold a special place in our heart."

Apex Outfitter has another location in Apex.


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