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Community rallies around Chinese restaurant in New Jersey hit with racist graffiti

Police in New Jersey need the public’s help to locate the vandals who tagged a Chinese restaurant in Wyckoff, New Jersey with racist graffiti.

Located in a small strip mall at the Mayflower Shopping Center, the restaurant is known as the Gourmet Garden Restaurant, a family-owned restaurant that has stayed open for takeout and delivery during the pandemic.

According to ABC 7, the graffiti included the words “coronavirus” and “COVID-19,” as well as xenophobic messages such as “Go home to China.” The words were spray painted on the restaurant’s door, windows, and sidewalk.

The owner arrived at the restaurant around 8 a.m. Wednesday, at which time the police were already on the scene.

Officials from the Wyckoff Police Department classified the graffiti as a bias crime. According to the department’s released statement, the person or people responsible for this crime will face charges including criminal mischief and bias intimidation.

“I am appalled by this event. We stand with and support the owners of this business,” Chief David Murphy said in the statement. “This incident is not a reflection of our Wyckoff community, but rather a reflection of a hate-filled person.”

A cleaning crew called AOA Cleaning Restoration had already washed away the hateful graffiti by Wednesday afternoon. James Higgins, daily operations manager of the crew, said that they will not charge for its services, according to NorthJersey.com.

Many Wyckoff residents have showed their support for the restaurant owners by ordering food from them or stopping by to pay their respects.

Employees from the Brick House Cigar Shop across the street brought the restaurant owners flowers with the message, “We support you.”

According to NJ.com, A GoFundMe page created to help raise funds to clean the Gourmet Garden Restaurant raised over $3,000. Since the graffiti had already been cleaned, the funds from the GoFundMe will go towards supporting the restaurant. The fundraiser has since ended.

“These hateful words, motivated by racism, bias, and ignorance, have no place in the town we call home,” the GoFundMe states. “We still want to show our support for this establishment that has been in our town for years.”

Police officials are asking the public to report any information that may be of use to the ongoing investigation to Detective Sergeant Michael Ragucci or Detective Sergeant Kevin Kasak at 201-891-2121 or detectives@wyckoffpolice.org.

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