An early-morning fire heavily damaged a Lebanese-owned cafe in Sherman Oaks today, a day after anti-Arab graffiti were found scrawled on the sidewalk in front of the business, police said.
The Worldwide Coffee and Nuts cafe on Woodman Avenue suffered $85,000 damage in the 3:30 a.m. blaze, Fire Department spokesman Jim Wells said. Arson investigators had not determined the cause of the fire this morning.
The words “Go home Arab” had been sprayed on the sidewalk in front of the cafe sometime between late Monday night and early Tuesday, police said.
“We’re trying to determine whether the (graffiti and fire) are tied,” said Detective Mel Arnold. “It certainly causes you to take a real close look. There has been an increase in hate crimes aimed toward both Arabs and Jews, and we’re keeping a real close watch on it.”