RICHMOND, Va. –Two unusual Thursday afternoon raids by Richmond Police, just six blocks apart The Fan on W. Cary Street, shut down the Sunny Food Market and DJ Market and Deli.
The search warrants were executed after a long investigation into stolen goods, police said. They are investigating whether the goods sold in the stores were legally obtained.
Although several workers were handcuffed, it’s was unclear Thursday if any were charged.
These were high-profile raids, with plenty of pedestrians and neighbors chatting about it, as well as motorists stopping to ask what was going on.
The mood of the raid at the Sunny Food Market (2700 W. Cary Street) had a serious tone.
Two workers were handcuffed outside as investigators boxed up apparent evidence inside. Patrons at the Cary Street Café across the street watched from the deck there. One of the handcuffed workers appeared to pass out and had to be taken away by ambulance, holding his chest painfully.
Jordan Hunter, a regular customer who lives nearby, said she could hardly believe what she was seeing.
“It’s a little surprising to see these guys, who I thought were really good guys, in this situation,” she said.
Six blocks east, outside the DJ Market and Deli, the mood was much lighter, even though nearby residents said they depended on the market not only for daily needs, but for food and kindness.
“This store just helps everybody in the neighborhood,” said nearby resident Carolyn Johnson.
Regulars who are short a little money could make their purchases and pay up later, she said. There was also cheap coffee with a free donut in the morning.
The DJ Market building has long roots in the neighborhood as a source for fried food like fish and chicken. For nearby residents without cars, it was the closest place for a meal.
Richmond Police said there will be more information Friday. Investigators took numerous cardboard boxes filled with items out of both buildings.