CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - A man is wanted for setting fire to an Indian grocery store in east Charlotte Thursday night in what Charlotte-Mecklenbug police are calling a hate crime.
Police say fire was set to the Central Market, described as a Nepali Indian store, just before 10 p.m. The shop is located in the 5700 block of Albemarle Road.
A rock had been thrown through a window in the front door, burned by flames, when officers and firefighters arrived.
"A note was also left at the scene near the door that stated the suspect did not want any refugee business owners and that they would torture the owner if they did not leave and go back to where they came from," CMPD said. "The suspect signed the letter 'White America.'"
Kamal Dhimal, the owner, is from Bhutan. He says he became a U.S. citizen last year, and is shaken up by this incident.
"It's painful because they attacked us. So I don't know how we can go," Dhimal said. "They are backward. They are afraid."
Dhimal told WBTV he was in refugee camps for 20 years before coming here. He's shaken up, but says he's not going anywhere.
"Too many people have helped me, and I gotta be strong to continue doing business in this country," Dhimal said.
CMPD tweeted a surveillance picture Friday afternoon of the man wanted for arson at the business.
The suspect, described by police as a black man around 5'8" and 200 pounds with a short afro and goatee, was caught on surveillance. The man was wearing a gray hoodie under a black coat, light jeans and black shoes.
Anyone with additional information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 704-334-1600.