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East Harlem store manager says he was punched by a customer

NEW YORK — Police are looking for a disgruntled customer who punched an East Harlem store manager, leaving him with a black eye.

Shivpersaud Kowlessar says what started out as a normal working day for him on Thursday quickly turned ugly after a buyer started harassing him.

Shivpersaud Kowlessar, manager of the American Outlet in Harlem, said the man punched him at the store on April 14, 2022.

Shivpersaud Kowlessar

“‘I want to beat him.’ So I said, “Why do you want to beat me? I did not do anything to you. I don’t know you,” Kowlessar said.

Police say it happened around 11:30 a.m. at the American Outlet on Third Avenue and East 118th Street where the 59-year-old has worked for nine years.

“I thought he was just shopping or, like, you know, I wasn’t really thinking about anything,” Kowlessar told CBS2’s Thalia Perez. “He said, ‘Yo, where are the shower liners?’ So I said, ‘Right over there.’ So I keep walking, so he followed me to the office.”

Kowlessar says he returned to his office on the third floor at the back of the store to complete some work, but when he came out moments later, he says the suspect was standing in the doorway.

“It was very scary. I was like, you know, my heart was racing,” he said.

After another awkward confrontation, Kowlessar said: “He raced down the escalator going down, going up the one I was taking, and then I said, ‘Don’t follow me. As I turned my face, he punched me right in the eye. I did not expect that.

Kowlessar suffered a cut and a black eye. He was back at work on Friday, but his daughter says the attack left her nervous.

“Now this scared us all, where is my father going to come home? Will my child’s grandfather come home now?” said Natacha Carrasquillo.

Kowlessar says the suspect was filmed by a surveillance camera and appeared to be in his late 20s or early 30s. So far, no arrests have been made.


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