Nassau police continued searching Monday for two men wanted in a Locust Valley nail salon robbery they say was motivated not only by greed, but also hate, including an attack on the Iranian-born business owner, slurs and anti-Muslim graffiti.
The high-end Givan Nail and Skin Center at The Plaza was robbed about 6:30 a.m. Saturday. The suspects made off with jewelry, police said, and $2,000, according to the owner, Zohreh Assemi.
Assemi, 50, of Bayville, was accosted by the two men and forced inside the business, where they assaulted her. They slammed her head on a counter, shoved a towel in her mouth, repeatedly smashed her hand with a hammer and used a knife and box cutter to slice her face, neck, back and chest.
Last month, Assemi said she began receiving threatening phone calls from people calling her a terrorist and telling her to leave the shopping center, where her salon is located.
Det. Lt. John May, commanding officer of Nassau's Second Squad, confirmed Monday that reports of calls of aggravated harassment were taken at the Old Brookville Police Department and investigators are determining whether Saturday's robbery and those calls are linked.
Old Brookville police are reviewing the harassment call reports. Capt. Richard Smith, a spokesman for police there, didn't return messages Monday seeking comment.
One suspect was 5-foot-6, the other 5-foot-10 with a mustache and goatee. Both wore dark sunglasses and dark shirts.
During the robbery turned hate crime, the men used "anti-Islamic language" and wrote anti-Muslim graffiti on a mirror with a marker, May said. "We are investigating all avenues from the robbery to the assault to the bias incident," he said.
Assemi, who is a U.S. citizen and says she is not religious, said the men called her a terrorist and ordered her to close up shop. Though the business was not open Monday, Assemi said the salon will remain open. [Link]
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