Police: Store vandalism a hate crime

SHEPHERDSVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Shepherdsville Police are investigating a hate crime that left a convenience store destroyed and the owner devastated.

The vandalism happened at Jacob's Smoke Shop off of Highway 44 in Shepherdsville.

The owner of the store originally from Iraq, is scared for his life. He didn't want to go on camera or share his name.

He told WAVE 3's Maira Ansari he only has one question...why would anyone do something so hateful?

Kim Goldsmith works two doors down from Jacob's Smoke Shop, she says she is outraged by the vandalism.

"It's just sad, it's very sad," said Goldsmith. "To know the man that owns it and he was so excited when he came here to open up his store. I saw him this morning, he is real sad."

Inside the store, something hard to believe.

"You don't really get the gist of it until you look in that window and see the hatred in there."

Paint all over, the store completely ransacked, and hateful words on the floor and wall.

"It said, Go home and I hate Arab on the floor," said Sgt. Troy Armstrong from Shepherdsville Police.

"It said God Bless America, they scrolled that across there," said Goldsmith. "But, you know God doesn't bless stuff like that...that is not right."

Shepherdsville Police believe that someone broke into the store Sunday night around 11:00.

The owner of the store told WAVE 3 that he had opened up the smoke shop just a month and a half ago and had been harassed recently.

"He told us that there were some teenagers that had come by and made some comments to him and told him to go home, those type things," said Sgt. Armstrong.

"It just seems cowardly to do what they did," said Goldsmith.

The owner is an engineer and left Iraq for a better life, but his dream didn't last long.

Worried about the safety of his family, he told WAVE 3 that he is thinking about going back to his native country.

"He came here to live out a dream and it's sad that he is thinking about going home," said Goldsmith.

The owner says about $2,000 dollars was stolen from the store. The surveillance equipment was also taken.
The owner says he isn't sure if he will open back up if he stays.

If police find out who vandalized the store, they could face some serious charges of burglary and criminal mischief. Since this is being investigated as a hate crime they could even face federal charges.

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