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Mondawmin Mall reopens, but not all stores recovered from looting

Mondawmin Mall will reopen Sunday for the first time since being looted on Monday.

Light crowds shopped at a clean and bright Mondawmin Mall on Sunday as stores reopened for the first time since looters smashed glass doors and merchandise cases and carried out armfuls of stolen goods nearly a week earlier.

"It doesn't look like anything really happened in here," said Tamica Constantino, who came to shop for clothes at a store called Olive Olé ahead of her birthday this week. "They cleaned up well."

But that store and many others remained closed, the only sign of looting that tore through the West Baltimore mall on Monday after violence erupted outside. While some shops returned to business as usual Sunday, others were still working to rebuild inventory. The mall will operate on an abbreviated schedule through this week.

After touring the mall with a group of supporters, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said that while some stores were still working to rebuild, the mall was largely back to normal. When she toured the damage Tuesday morning, piles of broken glass and debris lay at every entrance.

"It's such a dramatic difference from what it was Monday," Rawlings-Blake said. "To see it bounce back so quickly gives me a lot of optimism."

Some stores were untouched and staff greeted shoppers as they entered.

"They got a little bit of our stock, but not much," said Catina Bowman, manager of Shoe City.

But at the Lids hat store, a metal door remain rolled down and a sign warned that the area was being recorded on video. At clothing and shoe store DTLR, one wall where merchandise would normally be displayed was bare, though neat stacks of clothing covered display tables.

At several mall jewelry stores and kiosks, cloth and tarps covered display cases, while others sat uncovered and empty.

Zaryab Ryab had finished arranging more than $6,000 worth of new Fossil, Diesel and G-Shock watches at his kiosk Sundial two days before the riots. They were all gone within hours after the mall evacuated at 2 p.m. Monday, ahead of an expected confrontation between police and crowds of young people.

Ryab estimates losing $40,000 in merchandise in all. But cases of cheaper watches were untouched.

"I'm trying not to think about it, but at the same time, it's right there," he said.

The mall opened at noon and was scheduled to stay open until 6 p.m. Sunday, its normal hours. But it will operate on an abbreviated schedule from Monday through Saturday, closing at 6 p.m. instead of the normal 9 p.m., Romaine Smallwood-Smoot, the mall's general manager, said in an e-mail.

"We look forward to welcoming shoppers back to Mondawmin Mall and we are proud to remain a community partner," Smallwood-Smoot said.

Baltimore Sun reporter Lorraine Mirabella contributed to this article.

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