Break-in at Mexican-Owned Firm in NJ Investigated as Hate Crime

(Photo via Reporte Hispano)

Úrsulo Rivera got an unwelcome surprise on Monday when he arrived at work at Mexican-owned distributor La Providencia’s warehouse in Clifton, New Jersey. The back door was broken, all the candy was strewn on the floor and the office had been trashed.

He immediately thought that a robbery had taken place, and called owner Francisco Javier Del Toro to alert him. On his way there, Del Toro called the police.

However, the “surprise” seemed to be hate-motivated. The people who broke in did not take the money in the desk drawers or steal the computer – they did cover it with a bag – but they left messages written on the whiteboard where the day’s orders are listed and stabbed a box with a pair of scissors.

The messages read “fucking wetbacks,” “Trump” and “white power,” next to which the intruders drew Nazi emblems and wrote “666,” a number considered part of satanic symbology.

The owners believe that the trespass was perpetrated late Saturday night and that the vandals entered through a door that leads to a tunnel where gang members usually gather to inhale drugs.

“The losses don’t matter (some $1,300). What is troublesome is that, if they did not intend to steal anything – delinquents usually take money and objects that were not even touched here – then this is a racist attack,” said Del Toro.

The trespassers wreaked havoc inside the warehouse, located on Paulison Avenue, by spilling boxes of candy and handicrafts. In the office, they sprayed water on documents and purchase orders and over some electronic equipment.

Because the company recently moved into the space, they still did not have a security system installed.

The police told the owner that the incident is being investigated as a hate crime.

(Photo via Reporte Hispano)

Even more troubling, the intruders left papers, plastic bottles and a metal knife inside the microwave oven, which could have caused a fire.

“I think that they were either discouraged from starting a fire or ran out of time,” said Del Toro, adding: “In any case, this is a racist attack.”

The warehouse is located inside an industrial complex – an old factory – where 99-cent-store goods, printing material, textiles and cleaning products are kept. Most of these items are packaged using flammable, chemical fiber materials.

“Nothing like this had ever happened around here. It is strange to me. Had there been a fire, it would have spread throughout the complex and it would have been devastating,” said Johnny, who operates a forklift for the company All for You.

Two Hispanic employees of UMEX, an apparel packaging factory, also said that it is the first time that something like this happened in the complex.

White supremacist group PS14 claimed responsibility for the attack in the messages written on the office whiteboard. Apparently, says Del Toro, they are white teens from a local school.

La Providencia’s main headquarters are located in the neighboring city of Passaic. A month and a half ago, they rented the Clifton warehouse as part of their expansion into New Jersey, New York, Delaware, Pennsylvania and Connecticut.

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