Crowdsourced funds will help pay to restore Flagstaff hookah lounge after vandalism

Flagstaff police investigating possible hate crime at Maktoob Hookah Lounge where vandals spray painted the lounge with swastikas.

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. - The Flagstaff Police Department is still investigating a possible hate crime that happened early Tuesday morning at a hookah shop in downtown Flagstaff.

A small fire was reportedly started inside of the Maktoob Hookah Lounge located near San Francisco Street and Aspen Avenue. Swastikas were also found spray painted on photos on the walls inside and on the window.

“There was also some burnt clothing and some other items that were damaged," said Sgt. Cory Runge, a spokesman for the Flagstaff Police Department.

RELATED: Police investigating spray painted swastikas as hookah lounge in Flagstaff

The incident has not officially been ruled a hate crime but police say they are looking at all possible leads. 

"Of course there’s always a reason when swastikas are painted on anything. So, all motives at this time are considered plausible. It may not be related to a hate crime but we haven’t ruled it out," said Runge. 

Small business owner James Holman set up a GoFundMe account to help property owner John Running pay for cleanup of the lounge. 

"This morning I was down there at the property with John Running, who owns the space. He and I are both former Marines," said Holman. "It was an odd scenario that we were both there scraping this image off his glass window." 

There is insurance to cover the damages, which include the floors being burned through and water damage.

Volunteers could be seen Wednesday morning helping to empty out the space.

"In talking to him more, I learned more about his cost and his insurance deductible, which is $2,500," said Holman. 

Once the GoFundMe reached the deductible, Holman shut it off.

"I'm so thankful to everyone that participated and donated," he said. 

Anyone with information regarding this incident is encouraged to contact the Flagstaff Police Department at (928)774-1414. 

© 2017 KPNX-TV


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