Chaos erupted in the so-called autonomous zone in Seattle late Sunday when a man allegedly broke into an auto repair store, stealing items and trying to start a fire.
Workers at the business called the police but said they never came.
Groups of activists took over an area comprising multiple city blocks in Washington state’s largest city last week after police officers, who clashed with them, abandoned a precinct building.
Response times to crimes including rape have soared in the area since then, according to Police Chief Carmen Best.
The incident on Sunday was captured by reporters with the Daily Caller and One America News as well as a man live streaming video during the occupation.
It started when a man identified as the owner of Car Tender, a car repair store on 12th Avenue, found a male inside of the shop.
“I caught somebody in my building with my property. So I detained him, hoping that police would show up, but they wouldn’t show up,” the man told reporters.
“We found the guy in the building. We detained him and called 911. Police won’t come. The Fire Department won’t even come,” the man said.
Workers said they put out a fire that the male had started. The male was questioned but refused to be searched.
As word of what happened made it to occupiers, dozens rushed to the store and tore down fencing separating it from the street.
Some of the occupiers approached the man said to be the owner and workers, shouting at them as they tried to locate the male who allegedly stole from the business.
At least two people at the business brandished guns, prompting occupiers to retreat back to the street. Workers said they couldn’t search the alleged thief because he wouldn’t cooperate with them and eventually let him go.
As the activists approached the business, workers decided it “wasn’t worth the cost” to try to keep questioning the man.
Things took another turn when the man who allegedly broke in and started a fire returned to the area outside the store later in the night. He quickly left after workers pointed him out.
That prompted Raz Simone, dubbed the “warlord” of the autonomous zone, and a group of occupiers to chase down the man. He was detained inside the zone by part of its security force as people made him empty his pockets.
When someone from the crowd tried assaulting the man, he slipped away.
No property from the store was recovered except for a jacket he stole from the store, one person who was filming the scene said.
A Car Tender employee, reached on Monday, declined to comment.
The Seattle Police Department didn’t return a voicemail.
The man identified as Car Tender’s owner said he wants to see the East Precinct, which remains boarded up, restored, and called for local officials to “step up and represent their constituents.”
“This whole kind of mob thing doesn’t work,”‘ he added, estimating the occupation has cost his business some $55,000 so far.
From The Epoch Times