Salvation Army mobile canteen and two other vehicles torched in Mayor de Blasio’s New York City

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HARLEM, NY- Three vehicles, including an essential disaster-relief truck at a Salvation Army temple in Harlem were torched overnight Sunday by an unknown vandal.

According to reports, one of the workers mad the grim discovery around 7:30 a.m. on Monday, January 4th in a parking lot near the Salvation Army Harlem Temple Corps Community Center on Lenox Avenue and 137th Street. 

The fire devastated the temple’s Mobile Canteen, which is a van equipped with a full kitchen, bathroom, plumbing system, and more.

According to Captain Chaka Watch, who leads the temple along with his wife, Emeline, said that the Salvation Army had been using the canteen to feed up to 300 people each day. The canteen will cost nearly $250,000 to replace. He said:

“The things that they broke are things that you can’t just make. They’ve disabled us.”

Fox 5 reported that over the years, the Salvation Army has sued the mobile canteen to support the emergency response operations at several notable locations, including the current COVID-19 pandemic, Superstorm Sandy, the eight-day blackout in Astoria, Queens in 2006, and the MTA strike in 2005.

Fire crews responded just before 2 a.m. Monday, January 4th, to extinguish the fire. an FDNY spokesperson said that two other vehicles were also damaged in the fire. According to Watch, the main target appears to have been a Cadillac Escalade that does not belong to the Salvation Army.

Watch said that the canteen has served as a critical lifeline during the pandemic as well as being used for senior citizens’ and children’s programs.

Due to a gas leak back in November 2020, the temple’s main kitchen has been disabled, which means the Salvation Army will be forced to prepare cold meals now that the canteen is out of commission. Watch said:

“You can imagine trying to eat a sandwich when it’s very cold. That’s what we’ve been reduced to.”

The flames also destroyed the equipment workers were using to prepare meals for the center soup kitchen while its building underwent renovations. Watch said:

“It has affected a lot of people because now, we cannot feed people. We cannot do the things that we need to do with the truck. We feed about 300 people a day. If this truck is needed elsewhere in New York City, it’s not going to happen.”

Authorities are working to gather surveillance footage from nearby buildings. An NYPD spokesperson said the fire was under investigation by FDNY fire marshals. However, the fire department could not yet confirm whether arson was suspected.

The group has created a donation drive to help pay for replacing the destroyed equipment. The fundraising page reads, in part:

“This mobile canteen has the highest capacity in the Salvation Army’s fleet and is equipped with a griddle, stovetop, ovens, food warmers, a microwave, refrigerator, freezer, bathroom, complete plumbing system, and more. It is estimated that the total cost of replacement will be $250,000.”

Watch said the timing of trying to raise money, could not be worse, coming right after the Christmas holiday. He said:

“Because of the pandemic we didn’t even raise a lot of money, you know, we didn’t even have the workers and now we are in another situation.”

Watch is praying that the community that they have served for so long rallies to their need so that they can continue serving those who need them most.

Before coming to Harlem from Long Island in November, the canteen had a long history of service around the New York City area. Besides hoping for donations, Watch said he plans to pray for the arsonist, so that “God’s love can convince them to see the light and be better.” Watch said:

“If they wanted to be cruel to this person’s car, now they’ve deprived the whole community of food. There’s no reason for it.”

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Arson suspected after Portland police vehicle catches fire while parked in department garage

November 30th, 2020

PORTLAND, OR – A marked police vehicle in Portland, Oregon caught fire recently while parked in a city-owned fleet vehicle lot.  While the cause of the fire has not been confirmed, police believe it was arson.

Portland police officers and the fire department responded to the city-owned lot during the evening time on November 28.  Portland firefighters extinguished the flames, but not before the interior sustained major damages. 

Independent journalist Andy Ngo tweeted pictures of the damaged vehicle and said:

“Breaking: A @PortlandPolice cruiser was destroyed in a suspected arson attack overnight.”

The Portland Police Bureau released the following statement regarding the fire:

“A Portland police patrol vehicle parked awaiting body damage repair was caught on fire and severely damaged Saturday night.  On Saturday, November 28, 2020, at 8:20 p.m., North Precinct officers responded to a city fleet parking lot in the 800 block of North Graham Street on a report of a vehicle on fire.

“Portland Fire and Rescue responded and extinguished the flames.  It was a fully marked 2018 Portland Police Ford Interceptor utility vehicle.  The vehicle had been involved in a minor crash and was towed there for repairs.

“The interior of the vehicle was heavily damaged (photos).  The cause of the fire is under investigation, but arson is suspected.  An Arson Investigator responded and is doing follow up.  No arrests were made or suspect information is available.”

This apparent attack on a marked police vehicle occurred only days after a group of criminals damaged at least ten different buildings throughout Portland on Thanksgiving night.  Portland police stated they responded to reports of the group breaking windows and spraying graffiti on the New Seasons Market in the 4000 block of Southeast Hawthorne Boulevard.

Witnesses reported that they observed multiple people dressed all in black committing the crimes.  The group broke the windows of several businesses as they walked down the street.

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Photographs Credit Portland Police 

When officers got into the area, they discovered a group of people who matched the description given near Southeast 37th Avenue and Southeast Harrison Street.  Police allege that they discovered evidence with the group that connected them to the vandalism. 

Portland police said:

“Officers canvassed the neighborhood, spoke to witnesses, and found damage to at least ten businesses between Southeast 41st Avenue and Southeast 33rd Avenue along Southeast Hawthorne Street, in both the Sunnyside and Richmond neighborhoods. 

“Some of the damage was sufficient to provide access to the interior of retail stores, so officers contacted responsible parties and stood by while contractors or employees boarded-up windows.  Grocery stores, banks, an auto service center, a package distribution and mailing center, and local business storefronts were damaged.”

Portland police reported they placed three adults under arrest for the mass vandalism.  The suspects are Chester Hester, Nicole Noriega, and Bailey Willack. All three were charged with ten counts each of criminal mischief.  The three were transported to the Multnomah County Jail for processing.

Portland police reported that there was another adult, who was not identified, who was with the group and may face weapons charges after they located a semi-automatic firearm when they contacted the suspect.  They also filed charges for criminal mischief on a juvenile who was an alleged member of the group.

Police believe that there were more people involved in the vandalism based upon witness statements.  Police will continue to work their investigation to try to determine who else was involved, and when those people are identified, they also face the potential of criminal charges.

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Portland protesters vandalize and topple memorial to war veterans, write ‘F- USA’ on statue

November 27, 2020

PORTLAND, OR – Three people were arrested over late Wednesday night and early Thursday morning after a Portland cemetery memorial dedicated to war veterans was broken and toppled and sprayed with red paint.

 

The vandals wrote “f**k USA” using spray paint, along with other statements like “F**k you colonizer,” “Pequot massacre,” “F**k Thanksgiving,” and “F**k capitalism” on the monuments.  

The three arrested were “carrying evidence connecting them to the vandalism,” Portland station KATU reported.  The memorial they targeted, located in Portland’s Lone Fir Cemetery, was unveiled in 1903 to honor the soldiers of the Civil, Spanish-American, Mexican, and Indian wars, according to the cemetery’s website. 

Photos showed the toppled statue on the memorial covered in red paint as it lay on the ground.

 

KATU indicated that the Portland Police Bureau arrested Chester Hester, 24, Nicole Noriega, 38, and 23-year-old Bailey Willack. A teenager was also detained regarding alleged property damage and police believe others were involved in the incident. 

Hester, Noriega, and Willack are being held at the Multnomah County Jail and are charged with ten counts of first-degree criminal mischief each – but one of them was carrying a semi-automatic pistol and may be facing weapons charges.

The incident was originally reported at around 1:30 a.m. (overnight Wednesday night/Thursday morning) with a group dressed in black smashing windows and spray-painting graffiti Southeast Portland.

KATU was not able to confirm whether Hester, Noriega, or Willack were members of ANTIFA or had retained counsel.

It is common knowledge that members of the anti-fascist group called on their Facebook followers to target symbols of colonialism, capitalism, and gentrification.  And again, irony abounds, since the large majority of ANTIFA members are middle class to upper class young white people – protesting against colonialism, capitalism, and gentrification.

There were several “calls to action” that resulted in protests around the city of Portland, some occurring over Thanksgiving and especially Thanksgiving eve.  These calls to action openly urged followers to shout “f**k thanksgiving” and to “organize your own direct action.”

Earlier on Thursday, journalist and avid twitter user Andy Ngo shared footage of a Chase Bank on Hawthorne Boulevard that was, also, vandalized overnight.  Nearly all of the bank’s windows were riddled with gaping holes surrounded by cracked glass.  Several spray-painted phrases related to the genocide of Indigenous and Native Americans as well as anti-Thanksgiving sentiments scrawled on the walls of the financial institution.

 

Portland station KGW8 reported that at least ten businesses, including grocery stores, an auto service center, a mailing center and other local storefronts were damaged on Wednesday night after a group tagged them all with graffiti. 

Wednesday night’s vandalism took place the day after protesters and police clashed outside the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) building in south Portland on Tuesday night. 

Locals feared more violence on Thursday after members of the ANTIFA movement demanded that Americans to disavow the Thanksgiving tradition.  Members of the anti-fascist protest movement said they were “tired of seeing white people celebrate the genocide of our ancestors” before riots ensued.

 

Perhaps it is actions like these that are driving a solid wedge between Black Lives Matter protestors, who initiated most of the protest actions in Portland, and ANTIFA, the group that has seemingly hijacked the original intentions with violence and property damage. 

Oregon Public Broadcasting reported Wednesday that members of Portland’s Black Lives Matter movement are tired of their anti-racism demonstrations being hijacked by the mostly white “Antifa” anarchists and are working to separate the two movements as protests continue.

OPB reported: 

“Tensions between Black activists fighting for racial justice and anti-establishment protesters have bubbled beneath the surface for months.”

These protests are now in their sixth month and have followed an established cycle – protests are peaceful during the day and early evening, turning violent when ANTIFA takes over at nightfall.

“The riots, which made national headlines, tainted the Black Lives Matter protests, activists say, and confused commentators who often assumed the violence developed from the demonstrations. Instead, they say, the unrest was wholly separate — and now they want the groups to disentangle.”

OPB concluded:

“This week marks six months since Floyd’s death, and protests continue in Portland.  But now, activists in the city are divided as to whether they are still fighting in a racial justice movement centered on Black lives, or if an unfocused, anti-establishment fight against capitalism and state power has usurped the initial cause that brought thousands of Portlanders into the streets.”

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