SUSSEX — One day after anti-Semitic graffiti was found on the wall of a local restaurant, the community has already rallied to cover up the damage.

State Police are investigating who vandalized the Airport Diner sometime before it opened on Sunday morning, while customers and employees are left answering one common question — Why?

Robin Nargiso, manager of the diner, said a waitress and the owner found the vandalism when they got to work on Sunday morning and were "heartbroken" by what they saw.

"Nothing like this has ever happened before," she said. "It was just shock and I started crying a little bit when I saw it. "

Nargiso said the owner of the diner isn't Jewish, which makes what was sprayed on the building that much more confusing. She said the staff also has no idea who would have done it.

"We're trying to think if there was anybody that came in, but everybody that comes in here, we see them all the time," she said. "They're regulars. Even people that just stop in because they're passing by for something to eat, we get along great with everybody. It's like a big family here."

As word spread about the incident on Sunday, Nargiso said the staff members started getting phone calls and people offering to help. In addition, they had to clean up damage done to an exterior storage area that the vandals had broken into and ransacked.

As the cleanup efforts continue, a GoFundMe page has been established to help defray any costs. The page was set up by Ashley Craig, 21, of Sussex, who was said she thought it was "disgusting what had happened to the restaurant."

Craig said she was upset to hear what had happened, but that seeing it in person was worse.

"Seeing it in person, I was, I guess, destroyed you could say," she said. "I saw Frankie, who's the owner, and all he could say was, 'Why here? Why us?' My heart just broke for him."

While they couldn't erase what happened Craig said she was encouraged to see so many people coming together to help clean the mess that was made.

"I'm really proud to be part of the community. We all came together really quickly," she said. "Hate doesn't belong here and we've proven that love always wins."

Craig set a goal to raise $1,500 for the diner, and by Monday afternoon had already raised more than $2,000. Nargiso said it meant a lot to the people at the diner that there were people who would go out of their way to help clean up after the unfortunate incident.

"We're very thankful for that. That was quite generous and quite nice of everybody," she said.

Sgt. Jeff Flynn of the New Jersey State Police said the incident is under investigation and encouraged anyone with information to call the Sussex station at Sussex Station 973-383-1514.

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