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‘It just saddens me,’ shop owner says of racial vandalism

Vandals spray painted racial slurs across the floors and walls of a business in Angola, Ind.
Vandals spray painted racial slurs across the floors and walls of a business in Angola, Ind.(Erlinda Inniss)
Published: Jun. 20, 2022 at 4:50 PM EDT
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ANGOLA, Ind. (Fort Wayne’s NBC) - The owner of the Willow Tree Shoppes in Angola is frustrated and dismayed after discovering someone broke into their store and spray painted racial slurs on the walls, floor, computer and furniture.

The destruction took place over the Juneteenth holiday weekend at the property in the 100 block of E. Wendell Jacob Ave.

The store is described as a spiritual wellness center and metaphysical shop, selling herbs, crystals and other such products. It is owned by Erlinda Inniss, who is Black.

The graffiti strewn across the interior of the business makes repeated use of a racial slur, which has been blurred in photos being shared by Fort Wayne’s NBC.

Racist graffiti was sprayed across the interior of a Black-owned business in Angola, Ind.
Racist graffiti was sprayed across the interior of a Black-owned business in Angola, Ind.(Erlinda Inniss)

A post to the store’s Facebook page on Monday included several pictures with the simple message: “We are closed today.”

Innis said that the crime follows another incident in which someone vandalized her car -- something she said she reported to local law enforcement.

“(I don’t know)... It just saddens me that with all the good we have brought to the town, how this can happen,” she old Fort Wayne’s NBC. “I hate that my shop is the spotlight of this, but hope it just brings awareness to the people (that) we need to do better,” she said.

Inniss says racial harassment has been taking place for about two-to-three months.

A Go Fund Me page was established for those wishing to contribute to the clean-up and reopening effort.

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