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Essex County Crime Stoppers offers $10K reward for information about West Orange bias crimes

Authorities say a cafe that supports the LGBTA+ community was vandalized and a Hispanic photo studio owner was threatened.

Matt Trapani

Jul 20, 2023, 8:51 PM

Updated 338 days ago


The Essex County Sheriff’s Crime Stoppers Program is offering a reward of up to $10,000 for information leading to an arrest in two bias incidents in West Orange.
Authorities say that on July 12, Harper’s Café was vandalized with black paint and had the glass on its front door smashed in. The cafe has shown support for the LGBTQ+ community and has a Pride flag outside. Officials say a brick was thrown through the front window the next day.
Officials say the owner of a photo studio in town reported that she received a call on July 13 asking if she was Black. When she told the caller that she was Hispanic, the caller told her to move to another neighborhood and threatened to harm her business. She was also accused of cultural appropriation due to the braids she wears.
“We are shocked and surprised by these bias crimes. They will not be tolerated, and law enforcement is working hard to apprehend the perpetrator(s) of these heinous actions,” Essex County Sheriff Armando Fontoura wrote in a statement.
Anyone who might have information regarding these crimes is urged to contact the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office tips line at 1-877-TIPS-4EC or 1-877-847-7432.

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