Highland Park Businesses Targeted In Apparent Bias Crime

HIGHLAND PARK — Authorities are investigating an apparent bias-related incident in which storefront windows of five businesses were smashed on Raritan Avenue in the borough early this morning, Middlesex County Prosecutor Bruce J. Kaplan and Chief Stephen J. Rizco of the Highland Park Police Department announced.

The preliminary investigation determined that the shops that were targeted are Jewish businesses that trade in such items as clothing, food and religious items and are owned by Jewish merchants.

The investigation began after an officer on patrol noticed windows on several shops had been smashed. Business owners began calling police as they arrived at their stores this morning.

The investigation determined that various objects were thrown at the windows to break them. No graffiti or offensive slogans or symbols were placed on the storefronts.

The shops were closed at the time and there were no injuries. The cost of the damage was not immediately available.

Police distributed fliers to the community today advising residents to remain calm and assured them that an intensive investigation has been launched.

“We are currently gathering and reviewing information that may lead us to a suspect,” Rizco said. “All of our officers are aware of the sensitivity of this situation and we will make every effort with patrols and surveillance to keep everyone safe.”

Kaplan announced that Crime Stoppers of Middlesex County Inc. will be offering cash rewards to anyone who anonymously provides information that leads to an arrest. Calls may be placed to 1-800-939-9600. Information also may be provided to middlesextips.com. Text messages may be sent to 274637 (CRIMES) with the keyword “midtip” followed by a message.

Authorities are also asking anyone with information to call the Highland Park Police Detective Bureau at 1-732-572-3800, or the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office at 1-732-745-3300.

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