NEW YORK – A gas station as well as The Pitt Stop convenience store, both owned by Indian American Gary Singh, in South Portsmouth, Kentucky, was vandalized overnight Wednesday, according to a WSAZ report.
According to a Daily Independent report, the vandals spray-painted vulgar phrases and symbols such as “white power,” swastikas, and other vulgar language across the storefront in red, including crudely-lettered markings that appeared to say “leave.”
“I’m just really shocked that somebody is doing that,” Singh, a Sikh by religion, told WSAZ, adding that he got a call from an employee named Alley, early Thursday morning who had discovered the vandalism.
Alley told the Daily Independent that their regular customers aren’t ones who would usually vandalize.
“I’ve been here a year and I’ve never seen anything like this,” she told the Daily Independent.
According to the Daily Independent report, the store had been vandalized before back in 2014 and the culprits happened to be former employees who were caught by Singh, stealing items.
Security footage shows a person wearing a ski mask approaching the store just after 11:30 p.m., according to the WSAZ report.
“I was really nervous about that. It happened to me for the first time in this store in four years time. I’ve never done wrong to the community here. I try to help the community all the time,” Singh told WSAZ.
Customers coming into the store Thursday say they were just as disturbed by what they were seeing.
“It’s sad that in America in this day and age we’re still doing this. It should not be happening,” Barb Glockner, a frequent customer told WSAZ.
“He’s a wonderful member of our community, and no one deserves this. Especially not Gary,” Glockner added.
Singh told WSAZ that he came to America in the early 1990s to pursue the American dream, but what happened at his store is more of a nightmare.
Kentucky State Police told WSAZ that they are investigating the case as criminal mischief but do plan on working with county prosecutors to discuss a possible hate crime charge.
Customers hope that the disturbing images and the hateful act do not reflect on their community.
“I think if they put themselves in Gary’s place, would you want somebody doing that to you? We live by the golden rule. We do unto others and evidently they do not live by that rule,” Glockner told WSAZ.
According to the Daily Independent report, Singh spent more than two and a half hours scrubbing off the mess from the windows, but other areas are still covered.
However, Singh did tell WSAZ that he possibly could forgive the vandals despite the hateful comments they left on the walls of his gas station and hopes that they do not strike again.
“Please don’t do it to anybody else. Don’t hurt anybody’s feelings. Let them work and enjoy their life,” Singh told WSAZ.
Police say that they are still working on identifying a suspect.