A South Florida restaurant owner was left picking up the pieces after his business was vandalized and burglarized by two drunken white men earlier this week.
Jarael Holston-Jones, owner of Fat Boyz Barbecue in Deerfield Beach, said he was alerted to the break-in by his security system around 2 a.m. Monday, SouthFlorida.com reported. By the time he arrived, police already had the culprits in custody, one of whom launched a racist tirade against the Black restaurateur.
“I’ve never heard such vile things,” said Holston-Jones, a U.S. Army veteran and ex-pastor. “He said, ‘You n—-r, what gives you the right to think you can be here? You n—-rs are the scum of the earth. Get out of our country!’ ”
The men appeared to be intoxicated, he added, noting there were beer cans strewn all around them. Hoston-Jones said his restaurant does not sell beer. He said the pair had completely ransacked the place, smashing in windows, flipping tables and chairs upside down and leaving forks and napkins everywhere.
As paramedics assessed whether one of the suspects needed to be taken to a hospital due to injuries on his face, the other suspect, who Hoston-Jones described as a man in his 40’s, “just started going off.” He said the younger man continued ranting for 10 minutes until a deputy told him to be quiet and asked that he and the other suspect be removed from the scene.
“In talking with one of the detectives, he said the guy was angry because there’s a Black guy dating his sister and he thought I was the guy,” Holston-Jones said.
Bruce Hodgeson, 43, of West Palm Beach was arrested and charged with armed burglary of a dwelling while his partner in crime, Michael Bray, 58, of Fort Lauderdale, was arrested on a warrant stemming from a past cocaine charge, according to the Broward Sheriff’s Office. Both remain in custody the Broward Main Jail.
After repairing $2,500 in damages, Fat Boyz barbecue re-opened its doors to customers on Tuesday, March 13. Holston-Jones said nothing was stolen from the store and that the men apparently shattered the windows with umbrellas from the patio.
“They broke our windows with hate but they won’t break our spirit or passion,” he told SouthFlorida.com, adding that he’s unsure if the ranting suspect would be charged with a hate crime.
“I really don’t think it matters,” he said. “Charging him with a hate crime won’t change his heart. I’d tell him there’s a better way to live your life. He just needs to look into his heart and character and find some reconciliation.”