Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Carmel Deli Owner Cried Hate Crime After Setting Fire To Business Police Say

The politics culture of victimization took a sad turn today after it was revealed that the owner of the Carmel deli  who suggested she and her family were the victims of a hate crime because of their Indian nationality when Heidi's Deli in Carmel burned in October were being charged with the arson. The owner pointed to a message spray painted inside the business suggesting the owners should return to their country as a reason for claiming they were the victims of a hate crime. Now daughter, father and a family friend have been charged with arson by Carmel police. Police allege the family had the friend carry out the arson. When police arrested Nirmal Thakur they discovered he had suffered severe burns he may have suffered when he allegedly set the business afire. Thakur, who was staying at the home of the Deli's owners, apparently did not receive medical treatment for his severe burns because the owners didn't want to draw suspicion to the fire. Sadly, this was not the first time the family had resorted to burning down one of their businesses. Police say they torched an ice cream shop in Fresno, California in 2005. WTHR reports:

The investigation into an arson at a Carmel business takes a strange twist. The people who originally reported it as a racist attack are the ones now facing felony charges.

Gugu Kaur, 21, spoke to Eyewitness News last November about a fire that shut down her family's business, Heidi's Brooklyn Deli at 1400 S. Guilford Ave. in Carmel, on October 31st. She called it a racially motivated hate crime, pointing out the graffiti the arsonist left behind.

"It says pretty much, 'go to your country.' Why were we the target?" she said at the time.

Now she and her father, 47-year-old Jasvir Dosanjh, are in custody, accused of arranging the arson themselves and even buying the gasoline used in the incident. Police believe their goal was to defraud their insurance company. Damage was estimated at $30,000.

"It is our belief that the intent was to do more damage," said Lt. Jeff Horner, Carmel Police Department.

Investigators believe 39-year-old Nirmal Thakur, an acquaintance of the owners, actually set the fire. When police arrested him, they said his hands and face were badly burned.

According to the probable cause affidavit, the deli owners would not take him to the hospital because of fear that he "would be caught." It says the owners took him to their house instead and that it was during that stay that the owner admitted "he was trying to burn his business down because he lost $200,000 and wanted out of the lease."

This isn't the only arson connected to these owners. According to the probable cause affidavit, the family also owned an ice cream shop in Fresno, California that was intentionally set on fire in 2005.

Investigators say they were careful not to jump to conclusions when they saw the graffiti.

"We did not want that to really cloud up the investigation and later on it was determined that it was definitely not a hate crime. It was basically stuff that the owners put there to divert some of the blame to somebody else, and try to mask what they were actually trying to accomplish," said Lt. Horner.

"I am shocked and appalled," said Becky Wilson, owner of the neighboring All About You Hair Salon. She calls it extremely selfish.

"They could have burnt the whole building, and my whole life is invested in my business and that would be gone and all my revenue would be gone and it would be really hard in today's environment to start over again. Then make it look like it was a hate crime like that really bothers me because we all live in an environment now of fear," she said.

The personal training studio right next door to the deli had to deal with smoke damage and slower traffic through their doors.

"We're grateful it wasn't worse than it was," said Gina Kroeker, Get in Shape for Women manager. "It's affected us. It affected the area."

Both Dosanjh and Kaur are being held by police in New Jersey pending their extradition back to Indiana.

Dosanjh and Kaur were taken into custody at Newark International Airport on several warrants, including B felony arson, B felony conspiracy to commit arson, C felony arson with intent to defraud and conspiracy to commit arson with intent to defraud.

Thakur faces a charge of B felony arson. He is being held at the Hamilton County Jail on a $70,000 bond.

At the time, the owners said neither the cash register nor the safe was touched. The only thing missing was the device that records surveillance video.


Cato said...

I went in there one day and asked if they had hot pastrami. The Indian lady said 'yes' but made no motion towards any steam table or slicer, instead scooping up some cold meat and heading for the microwave.

I asked her if she was going to microwave that, and she said she was. I told her: "Hot pastrami does not mean making pastrami hot. Doing it that way, you could serve 'hot doorstop,' too." I left. "Brooklyn," my foot.

Perhaps while in Newark she should have stopped off at the Carnegie and got a taste of a real deli.

It's sad to see how some foreigners show utter disrespect for our country and our ways of doing business, as if America is merely something for them to exploit and mine.

Anonymous said...

Do not blame this hot pastrami incident on the employee's nationality. This is a franchise restaurant, and as a former employee of the business, I can tell you that this is company wide policy for how to make a hot pastrami sandwich. I really wish people would stop blaming the problems of the restaurant on the fact that the owners were Indian. It's racist, and has nothing to do with the arson or anything else.