The looters smashed the plate-glass windows and door of Jacobs Music store in the 1700 block of Chestnut Street and took aim at the pianos inside.
While two protesters played a couple of grand pianos in the store, four others flipped a pristine baby grand out onto its back and out into the street.
They abandoned the piano there Saturday night, its side marked with an obscenity. Other looters ignored it as they made off with items on the block.
The white Roland digital grand piano was ruined, just part of the damage at Jacobs Music, 1718 Chestnut St.
“We had a small grand piano in the front window that someone decided to flip and try to ignite and threw in the street,” said Chris Rinaldi, president of Jacobs.
"In the middle of all the chaos, two people stopped to play the piano and other people stopped to listen, which really says something about music.”
The white baby grand was valued at about $7,000; Rinaldi said that one Steinway that two young women played during the looting is considerably more valuable — worth about $130,000. It received minor damage from flying glass.
The white baby grand is, he said, a total loss.
An image of the damaged piano, as well as footage of the theft of the piano and the woman’s brief performance, was captured and later made available on social media, Rinaldi said. (The material was also made available through the Steinway Piano Blog.)
“We were heartbroken to see that," Rinaldi. But that sadness Saturday night was transformed into what was “probably one of the most uplifting experiences of my life" the next morning.
When Rinaldi got to the store, he said, "people were already cleaning up all the glass from the windows.