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Vandals target Asian-owned businesses across San Jose, Milpitas

Bay Area

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KRON) — Survellance video shows someone using what looks like a crowbar to smash virtually all of the front windows at one and three other Lee’s sandwich shops in San Jose.

“Our customers are getting scared and worried and so are our employees,” Owner Thang Le said. “We’re trying to figure out what’s going on with all the craziness that’s been happening…”

A total of eight Asian-owned businesses were hit across San Jose and Milpitas.

The damage is similar in each case. Dozens of windows smashed. The same suspect and the same truck turns up in other video.

Thang Le says he is not ready to believe it’s a hate crime but suspects it may be related to the coronavirus emergency.

“I think it might be more of an opportunity crime,” Le said. “Somehow somebody is benefiting in regard to what’s been going on with COVID-19 and certain businesses being open and others are closed…”

Offended personally, but airing on the side of caution before calling the attacks a hate crime is District 4 councilmember Lan Diep.

“I don’t think we should be saying that yet. I think it may well reveal itself to be but until we have enough evidence to establish the intent behind these actions, we shouldn’t say that,” Diep said. “I think there is enough hate going on in the United States and the Bay Area right now as a result of COVID-19 against Asian Americans that we have plenty to direct our anger towards.”

The damage amounts to some $10,000 per business, says Le. That’s a huge hit when the only receipts are coming from takeout service as he and the other merchants are trying to survive.

“We’re trying to stay open, trying to retain our employees and trying to support our community,” Le said.

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