BRONX, N.Y. - Every so often, NY1 brings you a story that not only touches lives, it changes them.
And now one family that was attacked by looters would like to thank you, our viewers, and to everyone who donated to a GoFundMe that could provide some much need assistance to help to mom and pop shops return to the supportive community that they love.
NY1 last interviewed Jessalyn Shen a week ago, when she shared several vivid details about a terrifying ordeal with the looters that took place when they went to check on the family’s pawn shop in Fordham, after they received a security alert that their store on East 188 Street had been broken into.
"They started attacking with crowbars and lead pipes and bricks,” she said. “And in the process of trying to get my mom back into the car, they ended up breaking her leg."
While Shen and her parents still have nightmares after being attacked and chased by looters who ransacked GoldCashInc, the family’s Fordham pawn shop on East 188th Street, and destroyed their car the night of June 1, several positive developments since our story aired have the family feeling inspired.
“We’ve just been so thankful to all of the people that donated,” said Shen. “We never thought it would make this much money and we’re so thankful!"
Following our exclusive interview, a GoFundMe page set up by the family saw donations skyrocket from nearly 9-grand to more than $100,000.
“Prior to the GoFundMe,” said Shen, “we thought wow, we might even have to sell our store to be able to pay back our customers, and we’re really hoping that’s not going to happen.”
But with the pawn shop in shambles, the Shens are well aware many items that customers had hoped to buy back with interest will never be replaced. The family says so far, their insurance companies have not agreed to cover most of their losses. And that’s why a good chunk of the donations will be used to compensate customers for their losses, while other donations will help reopen Kings Jewelry, a Fordham jewelry store owned by Shen’s aunt and uncle, who shared security footage of their store getting looted that same night.
“A lot of customer come in and ask what happened,” said owner Louisa Chang, who is Shen’s aunt. “They love us. They want us to open as soon as possible.”
Chang hopes to be back in business next week.
In another positive development, Shen’s 68-year old mother Wendy is now at a short term rehab center, after a week in the ICU and several surgeries for a broken femur.
So far, no arrests have been made. Meantime, the Shen family wants the public to know they believe the looters were opportunists who do not reflect their community in Fordham or the Black Lives Matter movement.
“This movement matters and black lives matter and this community matters and right now, there’s so much healing that needs to be done,” said Shen.
To help the family further get back on their feet, visit the GoFundMe page.