North Carolina police investigate store attack as hate crime

AP News
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Posted: Apr 07, 2017 5:07 PM

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Someone tried to set fire to a Nepali-Indian grocery store in North Carolina's largest city and left a note signed "White America" that threatened to torture the owners if they didn't leave town, police said Friday.

A window pane in the Central Market's front door was broken, but a small fire had burned itself out, Charlotte-Mecklenburg police said in a statement. Authorities are investigating the act as a possible hate crime and are looking into a person seen on the store's surveillance video, but have not made any arrests, the statement said. No one was hurt.

"We need more safety and more security as business owners," The Charlotte Observer (http://bit.ly/2o6VT73 ) quoted market owner Kamal Dhimel as saying.

Dhimel fled to Nepal from Bhutan in the early 1990s, moved to the U.S. in 2010, and started his business in 2014, the newspaper reported. He said he had never encountered anti-immigrant sentiments while in the U.S. before now. He said the letter is a sign that some people don't understand the importance of immigrants and refugees in the community.

"If they want to know about refugees and immigrants and our backgrounds, they need to come to us and listen to us," Dhimel said. "We can explain to them how we help this country, how we give back to this country."