AUSTIN, Texas - The Austin Police Department is trying to find the culprits who vandalized local businesses with racially charged stickers. The city says those stickers were put up on several store fronts in East Austin.
It happened sometime between midnight and 7 a.m. Wednesday morning. Right now police are treating it as criminal mischief.
Sugar Mama's Bakeshop is one the bustling businesses in the area that was slapped with an "Exclusively for white people" sticker on its store window.
Sugar Mama's Bake Shop's April Jensen says, "It was on top of our advertising outside."
The sticker also had the City of Austin's logo, unauthorized for use, boldly printed below.
Jensen says, "It was at first off-putting because we didn't know if it was a sign from the city or what it was exactly."
Mayor Steve Adler released a statement about the racially charged message saying:
"This is an appalling and offensive display of ignorance in our city. Austin condemns this type of hurtful behavior. Our city is a place where respect for all people is a part of our spirit and soul. We will keep it that way,"
At least five storefronts in East Austin reported that the stickers were posted on their businesses. It's a neighborhood that's becoming more gentrified so many are wondering if the stickers are a prank or a protest?
Nelson Linder is the President of Austin's NAACP. They investigate racially motivated and human rights crimes.
Linder says, "I think if someone wanted to make a point this would be the perfect way to do it but I think the consequences are too great for pranks in the city and this country. There is too much tension."
Tension that Linder doesn't want to see turn into violence on the streets of Austin.
Linder says, "We don't want any false fights here about racism we have enough racism that's real - that's why we are cautious about these incidents."
Jensen says, "Whatever you are angry about or trying to get across there's better ways to go about it besides using offensive language and basically going around and defacing everybody's property."
There is no surveillance video from Sugar Mama's or from any of the other businesses that were targeted so there isn't much to go on as to who could have done this.
Austin police are asking for help but they want folks to be cautious. They say if you see someone putting the stickers up, don't approach them. Get a clear description and an idea of where they're headed and then call 311.