Vandals trash popular Raleigh Ethiopian restaurant

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Vandals strike Raleigh's Abyssinia Ethiopian Restaurant.

Raleigh's Abyssinia Ethiopian Restaurant was packed last Saturday with a festive group of local Ethiopians celebrating the traditional New Year in their native country.

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The September 11th holiday was filled with food, music, and dancing. But, the festive mood came crashing down early the next morning.

"It was a shock," explained Abyssinia's owner Tegegne Wondafrash. "I had a call in the morning, and I was told to come to the restaurant and I said, 'what's going on?' and they told me there was some kind of vandalism."

At some point after the party ended around 2 a.m., vandals shattered the restaurant's plate-glass window out front and dumped loads of garbage, including rotting vegetables, along the entrance of the business.

"Luckily enough, nothing happened to the inside," Wondafrash said.

Since the crime, Wondafrash said they have been flooded with calls of concern from loyal customers.

"They want us to continue to do business here and they're asking what kind of person would do this," he said.

That's the question Raleigh Police are trying to solve.

Adnan Hamed owns the Champions sports bar next door. He rejected any suspicion the crime was some kind of ethnic intimidation tied to 9/11.

"I think it's a coincidence, I hope it's a coincidence," he said. "Here are customers of all kinds of nationalities, all kinds of ethnic backgrounds."

Wondafrash also says he doubts his Ethiopian heritage made him a target.

"I don't think so because I don't believe I have any enemies here," Wondafrash said.

Raleigh PD is investigating whether this was just a drunken prank or something more hateful. No arrests have been made so far.

Abyssinia Ethiopian is back open for business. And while concerned customers have offered donations, Wondafrash says his insurance should cover the damage.
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