The former site of the controversial legal highs store, Paradise, has been vandalised as the store's owner faces charges in the South Island.
Broadway Ave's Paradise store, owned by Prabhat "Steve" Kumar, opened to consternation last year, largely because of its proximity to the Palmerston North UCOL at the corner of a thoroughfare commonly used by students.
It was among the last stores in the city to gain a licence to sell legal highs.
Kumar moved out of the store on January 10, leaving a sign saying he was overseas because a family member was sick.
Early yesterday police were called to the shop when a resident of the area woke to the sound of smashing glass.
Inspector Brett Calkin said a black four-door sedan was seen driving away from the scene. Security footage from a nearby business shows what appears to be a man using a baseball bat to smash the windows of the shop front shortly before 2am, breaking through the glass to smash holes in the glass display cabinets inside. The attack only lasted a short time before the man got back into the car and left.
Mr Calkin said it was unusual that the store had been targeted for that kind of attack, and police had to consider that it may have some connection to the former tenant.
Last week, the Westport News reported that Kumar had appeared in the Westport District Court where he pleaded guilty to a charge of common assault, downgraded from a charge of indecent assault.
The charges stemmed from interactions Kumar, 55, had with an 18-year-old female employee at his Westport store in January last year.
He reportedly told her on her first day of work that he wanted to take her on a romantic holiday and to a hotel, where they could have fun together. During her lunch break he offered her a glass of wine before touching her neck and thigh. She left the store.
Kumar was remanded on bail until April 9.
Kumar was a tenant of Brian Green Property Group, and property manager Phil Sanson said any remaining items in the shop would be removed.
The broken windows were fixed yesterday.
- Manawatu Standard
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