DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Police in several North Texas cities are comparing notes and looking for clues after a rash of vandalism attacks. Vehicles in Grand Prairie, Arlington and now a business in nearby Dalworthington Gardens have been targeted.
“I saw this mess and I thought: Really? These days?” Owner Samir Al Faleh says it is heartbreaking to see his Narah Café covered with hate-filled graffiti.
“I didn’t expect for this to happen…I’ve seen it many times in my life here. But, I thought these things were over,” says Al Faleh. “I guess it’s never going to be over.”
Al Faleh says he came to this country some 17 years ago with “less than nothing.” But, after working seven days a week for years, the busboy finally became an owner. With vulgar words spray painted from the front door to the exterior walls and even on the patio stone work, Al Faleh says he can’t even bring himself to calculate the financial cost of the damage.
“It was deeply hurtful. It was extremely disappointing after being a citizen for so many years, “ says Al Faleh.
In spite of the recent vandalism attacks in other cities, Al Faleh is convinced that his café was targeted because of his Middle Eastern Ancestry.
“When you close around 2:00 – 3:00 a.m. and you have people waiting for you to do this, that’s not random. And when you have words that specifically target where you come from, that’s not random.”
Dalworthington Gardens Police Chief Bill Waybourn says the department is taking the attack seriously and is considering all options for a possible motive.
“It is possible that it is a hate crime,” says Chief Waybourn. “We’re going to look at that and see what the person’s intent was. They put some things on there that were derogatory and we will certainly look at that angle.”
Investigators say they are also reviewing surveillance video taken from a nearby business for clues.
Al Faleh is just grateful that a delivery of custom designed patio furniture—part of a restaurant expansion—arrived the day after the attacks. He’s now installed his own surveillance cameras and has even had employees staying on site overnight to help keep it safe. He’ll take better precautions, he says, but he won’t let the vandals steal his hope.
“I’m hoping that hate crime will stop. And people will start concentrating on their life and how to make it better instead of making other people’s lives hard. That’s my hope.”
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