Man charged in Indian store arson, hate crime

Updated: Apr. 9, 2017 at 6:12 PM EDT
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(Source: Mecklenburg County Sheriff's Office)
(Source: Mecklenburg County Sheriff's Office)
Flowers and note left at Central Market following the incident. (Source: John Sparks)
Flowers and note left at Central Market following the incident. (Source: John Sparks)

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - A man has been arrested in connection to intentionally setting a fire at a Indian grocery store in east Charlotte Thursday.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg police say they received information identifying 32-year-old Curtis Flournoy as the suspect. Flournoy is accused of arson and committing a hate crime.

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Police said a fire was set to the Central Market, described as a Nepali Indian store. 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.

Flournoy was charged with the burning a building of trade, malicious damage by use of an incendiary material, felony breaking and entering, ethnic intimidation and anonymous or threatening letters.

A person set up a GoFundMe page Saturday, seeking to raise $2,500 for Dhimel to repair his store.

"Let's show Mr. Dhimel what this country TRULY thinks of its immigrants," Erik Hovind of Charlotte, the page's creator, said in the description.

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Anyone with additional information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 704-334-1600.

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