A Soho resident, who is also a woman of color, is speaking out about looters in her neighborhood after she witnessed two groups fighting each other with hammers over stolen property and using cardboard signs to pretend they were part of the Black Lives Matter demonstrations.
Bethany Johnson, who lives near Greene and Prince Streets, said she witnessed the violent altercation between two opposing groups of looters close to her apartment Tuesday afternoon after one group tried to steal looted property from the other.
“Please, please know that the ones looting are not protesting,” Johnson implored in a Facebook video before speaking with The Post.
“Now they’re beating one another. This has nothing to do with the movement and it’s making a mockery of the black lives matter movement when they do things like go down the street when they see the police, grab a piece of cardboard and right BLM on it.”
Johnson said she witnessed a “hammer fight between two groups of thieves” warring over a bag stuffed with luxury Jimmy Choo bracelets after one group tried to steal the loot from the other, the woman said.
“One group had a car, one group was on foot, so the group in the car thought they could steal from the group on foot, the group on foot chased them and they both had hammers, they both had crow bars and they were fighting each other over a bag of Jimmy Choo bracelets,” Johnson said.
“The guy in the Mercedes got out and grabbed the bag and [the other group] weren’t having it so they came back with the hammer and started beating on the windshield of the Mercedes.”
She added to The Post the looters had been stashing their booty all around Soho, including in the bushes and crevices around buildings, and then returning to pick it up in the daylight hours.
When police responded, Johnson watched as the young men, described as “teenagers,” picked up cardboard signs on the street and scrawled BLM on them in an attempt to appear as if they were part of the demonstrations.
“I am friggin’ tired of it,” the woman huffed, saying she’s been respecting the police and the curfews.
“This had nothing to do with the protests, this had nothing to do with anything except them wanting to steal from one another.”
At a certain point, Johnson inserted herself into the fracas and barked at the saboteurs to go home, leading her to get maced.
“You are not a protestor, you are not welcome, keep it moving,” the woman yelled, causing the teens to mace her and accuse her of being “white.”
Later Tuesday, Johnson witnessed looters trying to break into the Apple store on Prince Street, and shot video of the incident.
The NYPD did not immediately return a request for comment seeking further information on Johnson’s accounts.
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