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Islamic Advocacy Organization Advises Muslim-Owned Business to Stay Vigilant After Series of Burglaries

WOODLAWN, Md. (WJZ) -- Asad Qayum is picking up the pieces after someone broke into his Woodlawn restaurant, Legends Halal Shack.

"It's upsetting," said owner Asad Qayum. "You know, we're all in shock. We didn't expect anything like this. We don't expect anything like this."

Surveillance footage from the break-in shows two thieves smashing the glass window at the front restaurant.

In addition to Legends, Mazza Kabob Afghan Grill on Baltimore National Pike and Champs Pizza & Wings on Reisterstown Road were all subject to overnight break-ins.

"I feel like there is a triangle going on," Qayum said. "I don't like to suspect it."

There is no proof these break-ins are hate crimes, but they've gotten the attention of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a Muslim civil rights and advocacy group.

"This is a very diverse area," said Zainab Chaudry, director of CAIR's office in Maryland. "We haven't really had issues like this to this level in the past. Hopefully this is just a one-time occurrence and whoever is behind this will stop."

Champs has been burglarized three times, and the group wants small businesses to be careful.

"Obviously, this does hit hard," Chaudry said. "These are small business owners that work hard every day to provide for their families, to give back to their communities."

Legends' owner said the window cost nearly $900 to fix. On top of that, the thieves damaged his cash register and stole a safe.

Despite the break-in, the owner said he would like to give the suspects a job, sharing the offer on the restaurant's Facebook page.

"Even if these same guys come to us and asked us for a job application, we're definitely going to give it to them, because there's better opportunities out there," Qayum said. "Instead of going this way, we can put you on the right path."

Legends has upped security following the break-in.

No suspects have been arrested yet. Anyone with information is asked to contact Baltimore City or County police.

Anyone with information can anonymously send a tip through the Baltimore County Police Department iWatch website. They can also call 1-866-7LOCKUP.

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