Originally posted by abc7Chicago
SKOKIE, Ill. (WLS) -- The owner of a north suburban kosher pizzeria said he won't be deterred by vandals after an employee discovered a disturbing symbol drawn on the window of his shop.
"One of my workers was back here, cleaning the tables from last night, Saturday night," said EJ's Pizzeria owner Moises Wajchman. "She noticed in the window, the heart with the swastika."
Skokie police said they responded to the restaurant on Gross Point Road, where the vandal used a sharp object and black marker to tag the front window of the business.
On Sunday night, the police department is investigating the incident as a hate crime. Wajchman, who is Jewish, believes this was a targeted attack.
"It's trying to make us feel unsafe and scared to be open, but we won't. We will be open, and we'll continue stronger," Wajchman said.
The vandal was caught approaching the business on surveillance video. Wajchman said it happened on Thanksgiving, less than half an hour after the shop closed for the holiday.
"As he's walking out, you see in the video, he puts his head down," Wajchman said.
The act of vandalism happened as many in the Jewish community have been sharing concerns over a rise in hate crimes amid the Israel-Hamas war.
"Everybody walking around the streets feel like they have to always keep an eye out and feel unsafe walking around, because they are afraid of what could happen to them, because they're Jewish. It shouldn't be like that," Wajchman said.
Wajchman has a message to the vandal: Hate won't win here.
"My message to him is the exact opposite of what he's trying to do. If he's trying to divide us, that only makes us get closer and together, like, everybody. So, if anything, he's not doing his purpose," Wajchman said. "We're all together. We're not going to go anywhere. We're here to stay."