Witnesses helped store employees gain the upperhand in a tug-of-war-style fight for a custom bicycle when rioters smashed the shop's display window during a night of violence Sunday after a surfing competition in Huntington Beach.
Bert Etheredge, owner of easyrider of Huntington Beach, said a "strong sense of community" was on display when several witnesses stepped in Sunday evening to defend his Main Street store. One bike was stolen, but employees wrestled a custom display bike away from a would-be thief.
"We were just trying to push people back, just to try to save the shop from people getting in and taking over the shop. You have to stand your ground sometimes," Etheredge said Monday. "We saw some of the locals coming out of the crowd to line up around the shop and tell people to get back.
"It made me feel better when I was standing up in the window. It's good to know we have a strong sense of community around here."
The hand-built bike is worth about $5,000, Etheredge said. The bike has a few scratches after the struggle, which was captured on video.
"There's not another one out there like it," Etheredge said, adding that the bike's exclusivity was on his mind as he confronted the looters.
A vandal broke off a stop sign, then used the pole to smash the easyrider display window, police said. Video shows employees shouting at the crowd and struggling to prevent them from taking the display bikes.
"I really hope people will light him up and they get this guy," Etheredge said.
Police reported eight arrests, mostly for failure to disperse, after Sunday night's violence. Witnesses said much of the looting, vandalism and other crimes began with a fight involving two men after the final day of the U.S. Open of Surfing and spread along Main Street.
"We are in the process of sifting through all social media to identify anybody involved in last night's disturbance," Huntington Beach police said in a statement.
Police asked anyone with information to email HBPDFiles@gmail.com or call 714-375-5066.