Vandals target nonprofit for children with special needs

MULLICA HILL, N.J. (WPVI) -- Police are investigating after a South Jersey nonprofit was targeted by vandals.

Troy Memis, owner of Holy Tomato Too in Mullica Hill, says he's heartbroken and disappointed that someone would puncture tires on trailers sitting in the back of his restaurant.

"I don't know how you describe that. That's just anger, that's hate," said Memis, Top Sports executive director.

Memis says it's not just about the trailers, but what they are used for.

He's not just the owner of a pizza shop, but also the executive director for Top Sports.

It's an outreach program for children with special needs. The trailers are loaded with equipment that allows athletes with disabilities to enjoy sports.

"It's disheartening. Our program is a nonprofit and thoroughly funded through donations, and with mounting and balancing this is basically $800 worth of tires," said Memis.

Memis showed us surveillance video of what he believes captures the suspect responsible. He says the car drove into his parking lot Tuesday night, stayed for less than 4 minutes and left. Just last week, he says he captured a similar car in the parking lot after several tires were slashed on his employees' cars.

Harrison Township police are investigating, and have no leads on a suspect and are not sure if the cases are connected. Memis is convinced it's the same person.

"If they were targeting me, I would expect windows broken on my restaurant, that didn't happen. I would expect my car to be damaged, that didn't happen. I would expect my house to have vandalism, that didn't happen. They targeted the trailers of our special needs program," said Memis.

He says if he has to, he will keep replacing the tires. The bigger picture is about the kids in his program.

"We painted our fence on the side of the restaurant and it says, 'Worry Is A Misuse of Imagination'. So I will not worry about that," said Memis.

When the community heard about this story on Facebook, they stepped up and donated some tires, so this weekend those kids will be able to have their sporting event.
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