The FBI is currently investigating whether an animal rights activist group is responsible for shattering the windows of a Berkeley grocery store.
According to Nick Pappas, owner of Star Grocery on Claremont Avenue, employees in the store’s office heard windows being broken at 2 a.m. on July 27. Pappas said the FBI contacted the store about the incident and told him animal rights activists connected to Bite Back Magazine, a Florida-based proponent of the animal liberation movement, might be responsible for the vandalism.
Star Grocery has a full-service in-store butcher section, Star Meats, that sells hormone-free and locally sourced meat and poultry.
A July 28 post on the Bite Back website displayed the broken store windows. The picture was accompanied by an anonymous note claiming that the vandalism at Star Grocery was related to window smashings that took place at a Burger King in East Oakland and a butcher shop in Oakland.
“Cage free, organic, murder is murder and death is death,” wrote the author of the post, signed “veganarchist lone wolf.”
Oakland Police Department spokesperson Officer Frank Bonifacio said the windows in Waylands Meat Market were shattered Oct. 5. No arrests have been made in connection to the case, and it is not believed to relate to other vandalism incidents. Bonifacio was unable to immediately confirm that a Burger King in East Oakland was also vandalized.
FBI spokesperson Michael Gimble could not answer specific questions about the Star Grocery case.
“The matter was brought to the attention of the FBI, and we are conducting a preliminary investigation,” Gimble said.
Bite Back’s website has a section dedicated to activists who have served prison time for actions promoting animal liberation. The website notes, though, that it “does not publish news of actions in which the intent is to physically harm someone.”
According to Pappas, it cost $1,300 to repair the broken windows at his grocery.
“People shouldn’t be breaking windows,” Pappas said. “It is not a way to argue your cause. I understand there are some ecological concerns about eating meat, but we have enzymes in our bodies that allow us to eat meat, so bring on the mastodon.”