Alongside the many peaceful protests this week following the killing of George Floyd, there were rioters and looters, and unfortunately car audio was a target for some.
Sound Chamber of Columbus, OH was burnt to the ground, Sparky’s Autosound & Electronics of Rochester, NY was looted of nearly all merchandise and has closed for good. Absolute USA in Los Angeles, which sells car audio and DJ equipment, was robbed for a full two hours. Boston Electronic of Jamaica Plain near Boston was looted.
Several Car Toys locations were vandalized, said the chain. Precision Sound, Dedham, MA had its windows smashed. There are reports of other vandalism attacks on car audio shops in Philadelphia and other cities.
Greg Fisher has owned Sound Chamber in Ohio for 22 years. He got a call at 4 am from the police one night this week saying that his store was burning down. Other businesses on the street were attacked but Fisher said his shop “got the worst of it.” Some other 12 volt shops in the area including Columbus Car Audio stepped up to hire his employees until the business is up and running again. But Fisher is still working. When we called, he was outside working on a car install. “I still have customers,” he said. A GoFundMe campaign has been set up here.
Sparky’s Autosound in Rochester was looted along with dozens of other stores in that city. After 41 years, the shop will not be re-opening.
“They destroyed the inside of the store. All displays, all the radios, the amps, the remote start, alarms, speakers. The only things left were installation kits and the cheap harnesses,” said Owner Rich Ardilio.
“It was a CB shop. I took it over and made it what it was,” said Ardilio. “It was CBs and radar detectors and stereos. I used to work for a distributor, so I had contacts with distributors and I knew the business and what was selling. Forty-one years later, here I am. I had a good run with it. It’s time to retire I think,” he said.
Ardilio has insurance and has filed a claim, he said. He had one other employee.
Boston Electronic near Boston was looted on Tuesday night. Two people stole about $10,000 in merchandise such as alarms, car radios, amplifiers, “chuchero boxes” and more. Owner Bascual Encarnacio has made the store a fixture in the area since the ’80s. When we called he was back at work, changing the locks and calling ADT to set up an alarm system. Encarnacio did not have insurance. A GoFundMe campaign to help him can be found here.
Absolute USA in Los Angeles owned by Mike and Sasha Razipour was burglarized Monday night. Thieves drove up in cars and a van, and broke in the door. The alarm went off and the police were notified but the police were too busy handling looting elsewhere. The burglars “had over two and half hours to come and go,” said Sasha Razipour. She estimates that between $500,000 and $650,000 in merchandise was stolen. The Razipours are insured.
“I’m grateful to God that my family and my employees who are also my family were not hurt and they didn’t come in and shoot us. It could have been a lot worse. Financially, we’ll figure something out some way. But emotionally, I will never come into this store alone again,” she said.
Top photo: Sound Chamber of Columbus, Ohio