Vandalized Hair Salon May Be Shut For 2 Months

Arundel Police Seek Suspects In Racial Incident

July 28, 2009|By Andrea F. Siegel | Andrea F. Siegel,andrea.siegel@baltsun.com

As detectives continue to search for burglars who vandalized a Brooklyn Park hair salon with racist messages and symbols, the shop's owner said she expects not to reopen for two months.

Investigators from the Anne Arundel County Fire Department were there Monday, asked by county police to identify what may be gasoline or other flammable liquid used to soak the Heavenly Hands Unisex Salon over the weekend.

"Everything is so saturated. The chairs are saturated with the gasoline," owner Sharanda Brown said Monday, noting it would take at least a week to begin figuring out what in the salon is too soaked or fume-laden to be salvaged. The chairs, she said, will have to go.

"Once we get the odor out, we can evaluate what has to be replaced and fixed," said Brown, who opened the salon two years ago.

Whoever broke the glass to get inside also stole a computer, tattoo gun and other items, police said.

Friends and relatives have been helping her, and clients have stopped by, all stung by the damage, she said. The racist words and symbols will remain until police tell her she can begin to rebuild, she said.

Spray-painted on the wall are swastikas along with racial epithets aimed at people who are black and of Chinese descent, with a vow of "more to come."

"It's people who don't care about anyone or anyone except themselves," Brown said.

Brooklyn Park is increasingly diverse. Brown is African-American, and a nearby nail salon is Asian-owned.

Police said they are increasing their presence in the neighborhood.

"I would note that there will be an increase in 'periodic checks' in that area," said Justin Mulcahy, police spokesman.

A department office two doors away is used by officers writing reports or doing other administrative duties without returning to the Northern District police station. It is not regularly open and staffed.

County Councilman Daryl D. Jones, who represents the district that includes Brooklyn Park, said the burglary reinforces his idea that mall and shopping center parking lots should have security cameras. He expects to introduce a bill in September that includes a low- or no-interest loan program to help owners pay for the equipment.

Police declined to say if there was a security camera in the area. Police described a possible suspect as a thin person about 6 feet tall wearing dark clothes and white tennis shoes.

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