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Owner: Anti-Semitic Vandals Cause $100,000 Damage To Lansky’s Deli On Columbus

Electronics Smashed, Seats Slashed; Messages Of Hate, Urine Left All Over
Lansky's Deli

Workers papered over the windows of Lansky’s Deli on Columbus Avenue on Sept. 20, 2012, after vandals caused more than $100,000 worth of damage and spray-painted messages of hate inside. (Photo: CBS 2)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A Jewish deli was ransacked by vandals who spray-painted ugly messages on the walls. It happened right during the High Holy days.

They papered over the windows Thursday to hide the damage inside Lansky’s Deli on Columbus Avenue.

“It was devastating. We put our heart into this restaurant,” owner David Ruggerio told CBS 2’s Tony Aiello.

Ruggerio found the mess Wednesday morning. Computers, televisions and light fixtures were all smashed, and leather seats were slashed and a trophy case was trashed.

Cell phone video shows broken dishes and the espresso machine thrown to the ground. Chunks of the ceiling were torn down and littered the floor.

Most upsetting were messages sprayed on the walls, including anti-Jewish slurs that Ruggerio quickly ordered painted over.

“The vandalism was one thing, defamation was different.  It was very, very hideous things written on the wall. There was urination all over the restaurant,” Ruggerio said.

Ruggerio is not Jewish but his 94-year-old partner is.

The vandals struck Tuesday night, just after the end of Rosh Hashanah.

“The city’s been a lot better the last 10 years or so about people getting along, so it kind of shocks me, kind of upsets me,” customer Jack Reiss said.

Still, the NYPD said bias was likely not the main motivation. Instead, police suspect burglary.

In the middle of the damage there was a silver lining. The vandals didn’t touch the stained glass windows in the ceiling, which was dated to 1921 and from a synagogue in South America, the owners said.

Workers hoped to complete repairs in time for a weekend reopening.

“We’re gonna come back bigger and better than we were before,” Ruggerio said.

This time with surveillance cameras.

The owner said the bill to clean up, fix equipment and repair damage will top $100,000.

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