Community supports Middle Eastern bakery after act of vandalism classified as hate crime

Posted at 10:18 PM, Dec 18, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-19 00:18:27-05

SOUTH SALT LAKE -- Ever since vandals targeted a Middle Eastern bakery in South Salt Lake, the owners have seen an overwhelming amount of support from the community.

Police say the suspect, seen on surveillance video, spray painted a swastika on the window Tuesday night. Police have classified the incident as a hate crime.

After the news of this hate crime aired, the owners of the pastry shop say there was a line out the door, made up of customers they had never seen before. Many came out to show their support. One was even in tears as she told the owners she’s ashamed to live in a country with people like this.

Two days later, the owners are still shaken up and afraid to speak on camera in fear of retaliation.

Surveillance video shows it all. A man walks up to the pastry shop with spray paint in his hand. He’s wearing a dark-colored coat with a hoodie underneath. From another camera inside the store, the man is seen vandalizing the front door.

The next morning, the owners found a swastika and the number three, which they say resembles the Hindu symbol known as om.

Since this isn’t the first time they’ve been targeted, the owners are afraid to speak on camera, but the community isn’t afraid to show their support.

Lance Meister of Salt Lake City came for the first time Friday afternoon with his son.

“It just makes me sad because we’re all people," Meister said. "This time of year we should all be nice to each other, caring about each other."

Larry Chadwick of Salt Lake City has been to the shop before, but came Friday after seeing the news.

“I thought this was done by a coward," Chadwick said. "It was done by someone who for some reason is filled with hate."

Another South Salt Lake business owned by a Muslim was vandalized the same night. Car Deal Auto Sales Auto Repair on West Central Avenue also has spray paint on its windows, but, at this point, the owner has not filed a police report.