Long-time Clarendon restaurant Nam-Viet was the victim of a break-in over the weekend.
Someone shattered the glass front doors of the restaurant, located at 1127 N. Hudson Street, just off Clarendon’s main nightlife district. The break-in happened early in the morning, police said.
“At approximately 2:22 a.m. police were dispatched to the report of a burglary in progress,” Arlington County Police Department spokeswoman Ashley Savage tells ARLnow. “Upon arrival, officers observed the suspect sitting at a table inside a closed restaurant and gave him commands to exit, which he complied with. The investigation determined the suspect forced entry into the restaurant by breaking two glass doors.”
A 21-year-old man from Milton, Massachusetts was arrested and charged with Unlawful Entry and felony Destruction of Property.
The break-in happened amid a national focus on hate-motivated crimes against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. Savage said anti-Asian bias did not appear to be a factor in this crime, however.
“The suspect was intoxicated at the time of arrest,” she said. “The preliminary investigation has not revealed a bias-based motive nor a connection to any other criminal incidents.”
On Instagram, Nam-Viet thanked customers for their support while the business cleaned up, noting that the pandemic has hit it and other Asian-owned businesses in the area hard.
We want to take a minute to thank everyone who has reached out to us today to show their love and support. We were fortunate enough to only have cosmetic damage to the doors. Nothing was taken and both our family and business are doing well. In the meantime, if you would like to help us out, we urge everyone to please support any and all Asian owned businesses in the area. They have been some of the hardest hit businesses during this pandemic.
We will continue to remain optimistic during these times and we will allow the proper authorities to do their work in remedying justice to those who caused this damage today. We wish for everyone to have nothing but respect for one another. And please know that Nam-Viet Restaurant is so blessed and thankful for the love, support and kindness shared in the Arlington community and beyond.
The broken doors were boarded up as of Saturday evening, as an anti-hate vigil was held nearby.
The Stop Asian American and Pacific Islander Hate Vigil, held from 6-6:30 p.m., was coincidentally organized a week prior in response to “events that have been occurring nationally,” said co-organizer Allyson Dieck.
“The backdrop of Arlington’s historical Little Saigon on Clarendon Blvd was the perfect site for an opportunity to honor and show our support for our own AAPI community,” Dieck told ARLnow. “We really felt that our AAPI community is in deep pain — currently from the national trend of violence being shown towards them, but also from more general bias shown on a regular basis. There were some moving accounts expressed during the vigil.”
About two dozen people attended the event, which was promoted on social media. Gathered at the Clarendon Metro plaza, they lit luminaries and held a moment of silence for the victims of the recent mass shooting in Atlanta. A number of those in attendance also spoke of their experiences with anti-Asian bias.
Jay Westcott contributed to this report