SAN JOSE, Calif. - A vandal destroyed windows of at least seven businesses in the South Bay early Wednesday morning but took nothing. Some of the businesses are boba tea shops and all of them are Asian-owned. The majority of the businesses are in the Berryessa neighborhood of San Jose.
All of the businesses are open for takeout during the shelter in place order and trying to stay afloat. No one knows why they were targeted.
A glass company was on hand outside 7 Leaves Café on Wednesday. All the windows were broken. No window was spared.
“It was heartbreaking because we are trying to operate like a normal day-to-day business and this creates concerns for our employees,” said 7 Leaves Owner Vinh Pham.
The owner was alerted around 5:50 a.m. Nearby, someone also smashed the windows at Tastea that also sells boba tea, Pho Y Noodle House and Lee’s Sandwiches overnight.
“Broken glass everywhere,” said Lee’s Sandwiches Owner Thang Le. “There’s a total of six windows that are all broken.”
Le’s family owns three other Lee’s Sandwiches in San Jose and Milpitas. All were vandalized and at first he thought it was personal.
“Then after awhile, I heard he was hitting other stores, other restaurants as well,” said Le. “It was scary in the beginning and now I’m trying to figure out why he was going around doing this.”
In total, seven Asian-owned businesses were targeted with the same m.o. Cameras at Lee’s Sandwiches captured video of the vandal with a crowbar, there for seconds and leaving in a pick-up truck. After speaking to other business owners, Le is convinced it's the same vandal.
“Everyone has the same video, same guy, same truck,” said Le.
Most of the vandalism occurred in San Jose councilman Lan Diep’s district.
“As a Vietnamese person, seeing that all the businesses I’ve heard about has been Vietnamese-owned, I feel personally attacked,” said Diep.
It’s too early to determine if it's hate-related or someone frustrated or disgruntled. The cost to repair the windows is thousands of dollars. Businesses can't afford to see all the broken glass.
“This guy needs to get caught,” said Le. “He’s wasting everyone's time and money right now.”
Owners are hoping someone recognizes the pickup truck in the surveillance video. The business plans to up beef up security
Despite the damages, 7 Leaves Cafe is offering a promotion to first responders and health care workers of free drinks at the store in San Jose until Friday.