GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - The phone call Hussein El Hamaki got Sunday night is one no business owner wants. A man broke into his business, Gulfport Tire & Auto, and trashed the place with a machete.
"They come in with a big knife and they cut this here, here, here, here," he said as he chopped his desk with his hand.
"It's scary," he said. "Police call me and tell something happened. ... He came here with a big knife. If somebody were here, maybe they can be hurt."
Police arrested 56-year-old Harold Carter. It happened about 10 p.m. Sunday.
El Hamaki said the man broke the window, went inside, threw furniture and computer equipment out the window and chopped up the front desk.
"Materials? $5,000 to $10,000 damage here to fix it."
And he said he will be out of business for about a week until the front glass can be replaced.
"Why me? I don't know why he chose this - Gulfport Tire or King Limo," El Hamaki said. "I don't know why."
But he thinks the increasing number of vacant commercial businesses in the west Gulfport area is an attraction for crime.Gulfport police say this was an isolated incident and unrelated to the buildings.
While this may be one isolated incident, there's still a concern that there could be more to come. WLOX News Now spoke to several other business owners in the area who didn't want to go on camera. They said while they haven't had any major incidents themselves, there's still a worry, and they're taking precautions like security cameras, bars on the windows and locked doors.
"More business here closed down because maybe a lot of people go around – it's strange people," El Hamaki said. "I've been here like 10 years or more and I haven't seen these faces before."
Harold Carter is charged with burglary of a business and his bond was set at $35,000.