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Local gun shops worried they could be targeted by looters

An entrance to Bellevue Square Mall is seen after looting took place on May 31.(Photo by David Ryder/Getty Images)

Looters hit every type of store imaginable during weekend riots. They even stole liquor and cheesecakes from Cheesecake Factories in Seattle and Bellevue. Now, local businesses are worried that gun shops could be targeted next.

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At least one local pawn shop believes the guns and ammunition inside her store are enough of a target, with armed community members now guarding her Bonney Lake business.

Melissa Denny owns Pistol Annie’s pawn shop. She said the concern started when social media posts hinted that rioters and looters would be heading to the suburbs. That led to information that gun shops might be potential targets.

“We spoke to the sergeant on duty and spoke with our chief of police, and we’ve talked with our mayor,” Denny said. “They had a large police presence in front of the Target here because of the intelligence they had, and they thanked us for doing our part.”

“We’ve also been contacted by different law enforcement that we work with, and it was all confirmed,” she added. “It wasn’t rumor and speculation.”

That ran counter to a statement from Bonney Lake Police Chief Bryan Jeter, who told KIRO Radio that he is “not aware of that intelligence,” and is “not sure where that info came from.”

You will find about 30 armed citizens outside Denny’s shop right now. Last night, it was about a hundred.

“They are standing guard to make sure that the guns and ammunition inside the store stay inside the store,” Denny said.

Photos: Looting distracts from peaceful protests in Seattle, Bellevue

It started with friends and customers and just grew from there. Denny said the group plans to stay until they believe the threat has passed.

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