On Wednesday, the West Side Rag reported that Lansky's Traditional Jewish Deli, a popular Upper West Side restaurant on Columbus Avenue near West 70th Street, was closed due to vandalism: "The person or people wrote on the walls, smashed every computer in the restaurant, broke all the refrigerators in the basement, smashed the old-fashioned toilets in the bathrooms, and stole money from the register." Now the Post says that it may have been an inside job.

Owner David Ruggerio told the Post, "It was like someone came in and went wilding. Vandalism is one thing, but it was a total defacement. They urinated everywhere. They smashed all the computers, smashed phones, broke every plate in the place, sliced every banquette," not to mention also took money. He estimated the damages to be around $200,000. He added, "I’m an Italian-American from Brooklyn, but if I was Jewish, I’d be deeply offended... [There were] some words, some symbols — I can’t tell you what they were. I don’t want this to become inflamed. I immediately covered them up."

Plus there was an odd message: "'NOPOLR,' with capital A’s in the two O’s and the word 'California' beneath it. Ruggerio had it seen before." He said he'd fired a dishwasher (who worked there for two days) and, later, he found that the ex-dishwasher and a woman "broke into the deli, slept there overnight and cooked themselves breakfast in the morning."

Ruggerio, who declared bankruptcy last fall, hopes he can reopen tonight.