Essex County Sheriff’s Crime Stoppers Program is offering up to a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the person(s) responsible for the two recent bias incidents that occured in West Orange. 

On Wednesday, July 12, Harper’s Cafe on South Valley Road was vandalized. Black paint was smeared on a Pride flag located outside the cafe, glass on the front door was smashed and paint was also found on a store-front plate glass window. The following day, between 9:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m., the cafe was vandalized again when a brick was thrown through the front window. The cafe is known for showing support for the LGBTQIA+ community and is also a  Black-owned business.

Harper’s Cafe reopened on Wednesday, July 20 and in an Instagram post, the cafe credited the community for helping them get back on their feet. Multiple local businesses such as Bagels by Jarrett, Sweet As Fluff and Smokin Jerks BBQ donated food for the reopening; local officials in West Orange also showed their support.

Another incident reported in West Orange took place on July 13. The owner of a photo studio in West Orange received a call where she was asked if she was “Black.” The caller, after learning she was Hispanic, told the studio owner she should move to another neighborhood. The caller also threatened to harm the business.

“Essex County is one of the most diverse counties in the state,”  said Essex County Sheriff . “We are proud to live peacefully side by side. We are shocked and surprised by these bias crimes. They will not be tolerated, and law enforcement is working hard to apprehend the perpetrator(s) of these heinous actions.”

The investigation is active and ongoing. No arrests have been made. Anyone with information about either crime is asked to contact the West Orange Police Department at 973-325-4000, or the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office tips line at 1-877-847-7432.

Information about any bias incident in New Jersey can be reported to the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office by calling 1-800-277-BIAS (2427).