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Local teens caught on camera taunting nail salon owner, vandalizing her business

Posted at 6:17 PM, Mar 24, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-25 04:48:13-04

TAMPA, Fla. — On Wednesday, it was a peaceful day outside of Junie Nguyen's Westchase Salon, unlike last Wednesday.

"I cried for three days," Nguyen said.

That's because, according to Nguyen, several teen boys verbally harassed her, her husband, one of their white customers and vandalized the outside of their business. She caught it all on camera.

"My husband was in the middle. They were around him," Nguyen said. She added that they started cursing at him and telling him to speak English.

It all started because, according to Nguyen, her husband confronted the boys about kicking a chair in front of their salon.

Nguyen called 911. The boys were gone by the time Hillsborough County Sheriff deputies arrived, but Nguyen filed a report. She said the boys came back the next day and stole her bikes in front of the salon. She called the cops again and filed a second report.

"That's too much for me," she said.

According to the report, a nearby pizza employee chased the boys down and got their bikes back. Nguyen caught that on camera as well.

Her salon has been in West Chase for the last four years. She said the teens have been targetting her and her business for the last two years, but she never called 911. We asked why she decided to call now, and she replied, "because it's too much, and we see all the Asian hate on the news."

The teens are mixed race. They have not been arrested, so investigators don't know if race is the reason they're allegedly targetting Nguyen.

Nguyen is on high alert because of recent attacks on Asian Americans across the country, like the shootings at the Atlanta Spas that left eight people dead, including six Asian women.

"To be honest, I'm scared," she said. "I have a daughter; she's 2-years-old. How can I protect her?"

ABC Action news checked the data, and hate crimes against Asian Americans don't seem to be on the rise in Tampa Bay; however, they are across the country. According to a California University study, hate crimes against Asian Americans have gone up nearly 150% between 2019 and 2020.

Florida State University conducted a national survey and found that since the pandemic started, 30% of Asian Americans have changed their behavior to avoid harassment, or they're calling the police more because they're afraid of being attacked.

"I just want to be safe," said Nguyen.

As of right now, it doesn't appear that the teens accused of targetting Nguyen have targeted anyone else in the area.