Southern California -- this just in

« Previous Post | L.A. NOW Home | Next Post »

Owner of looted sneakers store surveys post-Lakers-victory damage


At the Holy Grail, a vintage sneakers store around the block from Staples Center, owner Richard Torres appeared exhausted from staying up all night after revelers ransacked his shop after the Lakers' victory.

Torres was watching the Lakers' game Sunday night at his father’s house in Corona when he saw images of the civil unrest on the TV news. He recognized the intersection of Pico Boulevard and Flower Street, where his store is located. Torres and his girlfriend, who works as the manager, jumped into their car and headed downtown.

About fifteen minutes later, their security company called, saying the store alarm had been triggered. When they arrived less than an hour after the game had ended, shoe boxes were scattered all over the block. Some shoes had been lit on fire and thrown down the street.

Torres and his girlfriend entered through the back door and saw the storage room all but empty. Fewer than 20 pairs of shoes were left out of the 800 pairs they had in stock. The floor was littered with receipts, price tags, tissue paper and crumpled-up shoe boxes.

Torres’ eyes grew teary at the sight. Neighbors told them the revelers had gone to the back of the store, and pulled and pulled at the white metal door until it broke open, all the while chanting: “We want shoes, we want shoes.” Glass display cases had been shattered. Two computers, cash, sunglasses and hats were also looted.

“It makes me not want to be a basketball fan,” Torres said, adding that he opened the store near the Staples Center in November 2007 because he was a fan and thought the post-game crowd would be the right clientele for his consignment sneakers.

He hand-picked a dark gray for the interior, lined the walls with plastic replicas of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Ennis House design and put up lighting so his shoes would be visible even when the store was closed. He tried to be at the shop after Lakers' games and had employees spin records on DJ equipment in the back.

Torres said he regrets not having been at the store Sunday night but knows he could have been hurt if he had been there.

“I thought it would be a whole different reaction” to the Lakers’ victory, he said. “Usually after the games we get a real positive response.”

Torres estimated his loss at $140,000. He expected his insurance would cover it but noted that some of the vintage sneakers were irreplaceable. He said he hopes to reopen the Holy Grail by the end of the week.

This morning, police arrested a man and a woman who live in a loft in the building after finding six boxes of shoes in their apartment.

-- Corina Knoll

Photo: Richard Torres, owner of the Holy Grail, stands outside his boarded-up vintage sneakers store Monday morning. Looters left behind fewer than 20 pairs of shoes out of the 800 pairs in stock. Credit: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times

Comments () | Archives (66)

Video of the Shell station being looted at Grand & Olympic. Another fine moment for the citizens of LA.


Hey if want peace in the streets, let the Celtics play the Lakers in the Finals again..... seems they (the Celtics) know how to quiet this town.

When L.A.P.D. should apply pressure on criminal activity, they don't. The lawlessness that goes on in this city-goes on and on and on. I wonder who is going to eliminate it. The Chief talks a good game-but can't even corral his own officers (i.e. the raid on an innocent officer's home by rouge offficers) and the Chief does not do a damn thing, that kind of behavior from him is worst that the crap in Alabama- at least they don't know any different down there.

What Los Angeles lacks is good sound-ethical leadership

This is another example of lawlessness by mobs that should be dealt with in the harshest of fashions. I would have seen no problem if the LAPD had dispersed unruly crowds with water cannons and rubber bullets. As for the looters, doesn't the military usually shoot them in other circumstances? Why can't the LAPD? It may seem extreme to most people and I agree. But I also don't think lawlessness, thievery, and destruction of property by a mob should trump everyone else's rights.

This would have NEVER happened in Orlando. Too bad no lakers fans died during the celebration.

What a stupid spectacle. Look at Tehran right now, and then look at Los Angeles. They fight for their freedom. We fight for sneakers.

Cancel the parade, give the money to shopkeepers and others who suffered damage. The Mayor would rather cavort with the gays than support the shopkeepers, figures.

dont blame the LAPD they tried to stop the hoodlums. if you know anyone from the pics in the shoe store/ turn em in.

I'm really quite surprised that LAPD was not out en force around Staples to prevent this kind of activity from getting out of hand. That seemed like a no-brainer and is what I assumed they meant when they said that they would be "ready."

Unfortunately, this is the same group of people responsible for a whole set of societal ills - graffiti, public drunkenness, vehicle theft, etc. The sad fact is that there is a cluster of degenerates that live among us and have no regard for our laws, law enforcement or their fellow man.

Please do not associate these losers with all of L.A. That's all I ask. Thanks.

Without Shame! Your such a disgrace to the REAL LA LAKER FANS! Please do us all a favor and CRAWL back under the rock you crawled out of... And where were the police??? I know, I Know the City is short staff and not enough funds for our Police. Here's a clue Year 2000 had the same type of riots or did you forget?? It's called PREVENTATIVE MEASURES

Blame sport franchise, not law enforcement. The conduct of the society celebrations is so immoral. How is it that the people value their manner of discipline. Now the city wants to pay 50 percent for the parade. Is this coming from tax payers. It seems that law enforcemnt will be in numbers. Who is paying for it ? No economic issues with this city. Dumbfounded about the burden it is taking on. Oh no !, don't blame the franchise. HaHaHa

he conduct of society

Typical, lazy, violent, LA ghetto "fans" and a clueless LAPD. Typical, typical, typical all around

for the person who posted as guest. the damage that was done will not be forgotten by all just selfish person like you. This man has to start all over, the victory will soon be forgotten, in his mind as well as the other stores that were looted and not televised. The good we have accomplished come on it is a basketball GAME. We are talking about a mans life lets weigh what is more important. let me guess you are one of the looters. Oh well maybe not because half those looters are ignorant drop out s who can't read anyway. The LAPD I am sure was there well the ones who still have a job because of the lay offs and budget cuts half the LAPD was even there and why should it be there fault? they didn't ask for the stupid people of LA to come out and burn the city down and destroy these stores.

Hey Justin,
Check this out:


and there's plenty more. Clearly you don't live in Boston and are just a frontrunner.

Whoops, wrong message board!

Unbelievable. What an embarrassment for the city.

this wasn't a celebration, this was a bunch of morons, most likely drunk, high, or just nuts. how is looting a store relevant to a laker victory? hopefully the owner will be able to get his business going, what a bunch of idiots. i won't dare mention the nationally of most of the fools mugging for camera's!

that is " nationality" just makes me so mad reading the story!

These are the same fans that bring knives to Dodgers games. Maybe the "Celebrate with Dignity" commercial should have been in espanol.

Many of the element that were in the footage of the Shell station store being looted had shaved heads and were latino and black. It's one thing to knock over a newspaper stand or break a few windows, but to destroy the lives of hard working people who like Richard Torres, the shoe store owner, who is a real man because he has enough guts and drive to run a business? These thugs that use celebrations to steal from businesses are nothing but children running around in men's bodies. They most likely don't work, collect welfare, know someone or have been in prison at least once, have no prospects in life and suck our government dry by using all out social services. I'm definitely going to buy from the Richard's shoe store when I',m in the area and buy gas and food items from the Shell Station

LetsGoMets should should have his blog card yanked. Besides being trite and cliched, his content is factually incorrect. NY Giants fans rioting...


It's unfortunate that the actions of many lawbreakers and morons in that area of Los Angeles, makes people who don't live in the area, assume all Lakers fans (or the Lakers organization) approves such actions. This is the same type of thing that occured when the Lakers won the championships earlier this decade, and I was telling someone last week, "If the Lakers win, watch and see how certain people will act up and begin vandalizing and looting businesses near Staples Center". This just goes to show that those people who decided to do such criminal acts are low class people, and don't care that they're commiting criminal acts to celebrate the Lakers winning, and those losers feel that it's okay to do what they did, because most of them won't be caught. I hope they're proud of themselves.

Poster 'guest' who posted @ June 15, 2009 1pm is a moron. I'm a Lakers fan and this "celebration" was just shameful. Really makes me wish they didn't win the Championship. LAPD failed. They violently disperse a mainly peaceful demonstration in MacArthur park 2yrs ago yet they stand by quietly while a lawless crowd starts a riot. And to close, Villaraigosa is really putting this city on the map and in the news for all the right reasons. Thanks a million Villaraigosa.

I am sure pictures and close circuit video exists of the "celebration". Law enforcement needs to subpeona them or have people volunteer them. They need to be closely reviewed, and raids should be conducted early in the a.m. while these vermin are still sleeping. They should be arrested, and vigorously procecuted. If some of these miscreants are minors then their parents or guardian most also be held responsible. It was quite shameful.I am sure had law enforcement being quite heavy handed in their response to yesterday's anarchy, all the community leaders would have crawled out from underneath their rocks howling like stuck pigs.

« | 1 2 3 | »


Recommended on Facebook


In Case You Missed It...


About L.A. Now
L.A. Now is the Los Angeles Times’ breaking news section for Southern California. It is produced by more than 80 reporters and editors in The Times’ Metro section, reporting from the paper’s downtown Los Angeles headquarters as well as bureaus in Costa Mesa, Long Beach, San Diego, San Francisco, Sacramento, Riverside, Ventura and West Los Angeles.
Have a story tip for L.A. Now?
Please send to newstips@latimes.com
Can I call someone with news?
Yes. The city desk number is (213) 237-7847.


Get Alerts on Your Mobile Phone

Sign me up for the following lists: