Marc Lamont Hill’s bookstore robbed, vandalized in Philadelphia

Uncle Bobbie's Coffee and Books, a popular local bookstore owned by BET News host Marc Lamont Hill, has been targeted by a mystery vandal

Marc Lamont Hill bookstore
(Credit: Getty Images and Marc Lamont Hill)

The coronavirus pandemic has upended businesses that require people to gather in indoor spaces. Uncle Bobbie’s Coffee and Books bookstore, a popular community space, retail, meeting, and event space in Philadelphia’s Germantown section was already challenged by a coronavirus-mandated closure.

But now that Philadelphia has returned to a modified “green” state and many businesses can reopen, the store owned by scholar, activist and TV host Marc Lamont Hill, has been robbed and vandalized twice by an unidentified intruder who stole $650 and an iPad and smashed the store’s windows.

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As reported by BillyPenn, last weekend at approximately 1:30 a.m., the store was targeted by burglars who smashed the front window and helped themselves. Police responded to the scene but have no suspects.

“The investigation is active and ongoing with Northwest Detectives Division,” Ofc. Miguel Torres told BillyPenn.

Members of the community rallied to support Hill and the store by helping clean up after the robbery. But it happened again, just a few hours ago, according to a new post from Hill on the store’s Instagram page.

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Hill’s store, named after the uncle who inspired him to read, has become a staple in the community since its opening in November 2017. Hill has hosted authors including Common, Malcolm X’s daughter, author Ilyasah Shabazz, and scholar Joan Morgan who wrote “She Begat This – 20 Years of the Miseducation of Lauryn Hill.”

Readers at Uncle Bobbie’s Bookstore (Facebook)

“Uncle Bobbie’s was such a welcome addition to the neighborhood and filled a void as bookstores and gathering spaces had really seemed to vanish,” says Amaela Joy, Philadelphia chapter facilitator for Mocha Girls Read book club, a national book club with more than 9 national chapters.

Uncle Bobbie’s has provided space for their book club meetings.

“To have a Black-owned business in a Black community is empowering,” Joy adds. “It’s been a welcoming place that accepts everyone and where you feel respected and appreciated.”

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In a GoFundMe launched after the store’s closure, Hill raised $80K to help support staff and keep the store’s bills paid. Since news of the break-ins, thousands more have poured in.

Despite the obstacles, Hill says he plans to reopen on August 4.

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