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Hate-Filled Letters Falsely Claiming To Be From A Judge Sent To Minority-Owned North Suburban Restaurants

MORTON GROVE, Ill. (CBS) -- Some north suburban restaurant owners are worried for their safety after being targeted by threatening hate letters.

As CBS 2's Charlie De Mar reported Thursday night, police in Morton Grove are looking into at least two restaurants that received hate filled letters. Meanwhile, a restaurant owner in Evanston making it clear that she won't be intimidated or silenced.

For the past four years, Zinnia Iglesias has owned Ovo Frito Café, a popular Mexican breakfast and lunch spot on Maple Avenue in Evanston. But this week, Iglesias said she has felt anything but welcome.

"I was wondering who can hate us so much," she said.

The restaurant received this hate-filled letter - covered in racial and ethnic slurs. We can't even show you most of it.

It was a bogus court order, supposedly signed by a current Cook County judge on letterhead purporting to be from the Skokie Cook County Circuit Courthouse.

"When I opened it, I just saw these hate messages telling me - demanding us to close down," Iglesias said.

The threatening letter said if Ovo Frito doesn't close down, "You and your group will face gang actions indefinitely and you know just what all a gang can do."

Kabul House on Dempster Street and Mt. Everest on Church Street - also minority owned restaurants in Evanston - received similar letters this week.

Police departments in Skokie, Niles, and Morton Grove are also investigating cases targeting restaurants in the north suburbs. Eight have been reported so far.

Cook County Chief Judge Timothy Evans calls the letters appalling forgeries meant to intimidate.

"We want to believe this is just a joke – a bad joke - but at the same time, what if this person is really crazy and tries to do something?" Iglesias said.

When asked if she and her staff felt worried for their safety at the restaurant, Iglesias said, "Just a little."

Iglesias said despite the attempt, the letters won't scare her.

"It's important for me to speak up so the person who did this doesn't intimidate us," she said.

The Office of the Chief Judge in Cook County said the FBI and U.S. Attorney's Office are aware of the hate-filled letters.

If you receive one of these fraudulent documents, you are asked to file a police report.


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