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'Malicious' attacks on new cantina

JOEL MAXWELL
Last updated 10:42 07/08/2014
Deborah Lee Marlow
JOEL MAXWELL/Fairfax NZ
SHOCKED: Deborah Lee Marlow outside the Kapiti Cantina.

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A new Mexican restaurant has copped a backlash that includes digitally altered newspaper stories and vandalism.

Paekakariki's Kapiti Cantina, which opened in July, has been hit by three incidents that have left the business's chief executive shaken.

Deborah Lee Marlow said the first attack at the Beach Rd store took place overnight, several days after a Kapiti Observer story about the Cantina on July 17.

The story was copied and altered, then glued on the front of the Cantina, she said.

"Someone ... must have scanned it and digitised it, and the title was changed ... and they changed other words in it, my quotes and things like that, to where they were a little bit derogatory and unpleasant."

She was forced to scrape the story off the front of the business the next morning, but several days later about seven of the posters were glued to a neighbouring business, she said.

They were removed, but then three days ago the Cantina's $600 open sign, hanging above its front entrance, was ripped down.

Marlow said the sign is so high it would likely need a ladder to reach - it was stomped on, damaged then hidden in bushes.

The Cantina, the first of a planned franchise, employs five staff with two new part timers set to come on board, she said.

Marlow, who comes from Southern California, was worried the attacks would "ratchet up" from the initial vandalism.

Business investor Rachel Stewart said she wondered what kind of weirdo would go to the trouble of creating the newspaper story poster.

"Blowing it up, changing words around and gluing it to the building, so that every time you take it off, bits of paint come off."

Meanwhile, Marlow said it was hard enough starting up a business without attacks that required "intent and malice" and were creepy.

She said she thought she was targeted as a newcomer to Paekakariki and an American.

"I think that there is a jealousy that some outsider came and opened up the business. And a mouthy, bold Californian did it. I don't know another reason why someone would do stuff like that."

Marlow said she would be reporting the damage to police and would be installing security cameras outside the Cantina.

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