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Henrico Indian restaurant vandalized with racist graffiti

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20221004_MET_RAJA

The side and back of India K’ Raja restaurant was defaced in an apparent anti-Asian hate crime.

In this community service episode of 8@4 we're taking our eight segments and highlighting people, orgs and businesses across the Richmond region having an impact on those facing hardship. Presented by Massey Cancer Center from the Virginia Wayside Furniture studio.

On the 27th anniversary of the opening of the India K’ Raja restaurant in Henrico County, the building was vandalized with vulgar and racist graffiti.

The side and back of the building at 9051 W. Broad St. were spray-painted with derogatory words and phrases targeting Asian Americans last weekend.

“For 27 years, this has been home. Nobody has ever displayed that kind of anger or hate to us,” said restaurant owner Tony Sappal. “I’ve spent more of my life here than anywhere else. I’ve raised my family here.”

Anti-Asian hate crimes in the U.S. increased by 224% last year compared to 2020, according to a compilation of hate crime data published by the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism.

Authorities are investigating the incident as vandalism at this point and have documented the matter as a “biased-based incident,” said Henrico police Lt. Matt Pecka.

Depending on the overall cost of the damage, the vandalism charge could be a misdemeanor or felony.

“Acts of intimidation or hatred will not be tolerated in our community. Anyone committing criminal acts will be charged accordingly,” Police Chief Eric English said in a statement.

Sappal said he and his family take pride in their longstanding small business and have felt loved by the community.

The restaurant is involved in several community organizations.

When schools initially shut down during the COVID-19 pandemic, the restaurant provided free lunches for students who depended on schools for their meals.

“I just wanted to introduce healthy, delicious Indian food to the people. Back when we opened in 1995, there was no Indian food here,” Sappal said. “I’m very happy with living here and being able to fulfill my dream.”

Henrico police urge anyone with information about the vandalism to contact Detective Stone at (804) 501-7176, or contact Crime Stoppers at (804) 780-1000 or online at P3Tips.com.