East Harlem store manager says he was punched by a customer

NEWYORK – Police are looking for a disgruntled shopper who punched someone East Harlem store manager, leaving him with a black eye.

Shivpersaud Kowlessar said what started as a normal workday for him on Thursday quickly turned ugly after a shopper began harassing him.

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

Shivpersaud Kowlessar

“‘I want to defeat him.” So I said, “Why do you want to hit me? I’m not doing anything to you. I don’t know you,” Kowlessar said.

Police said the incident happened around 11:30 a.m. at the American Outlet on 3rd Avenue and East 118th Street, where the 59-year-old has worked for the past nine years.

“I think he’s just going shopping or, you know, I’m really not thinking at all,” Kowlessar told CBS2’s Thalia Perez. “He said, ‘Yo, where’s the bathroom mat?” So I said, ‘Right over there.’ So I kept walking, so he followed me to the office. ”

Kowlessar said he went back to his office located on the third floor at the back of the store to get some work done, but when he returned a little while later, he said the suspect was standing at the door.

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

After another awkward confrontation, Kowlessar said, “He ran down the escalator going down, ran up the one I was going, and then I said, ‘Don’t follow me.’ When I turned my face away, he punched me right in the eye, I didn’t expect it.”

Kowlessar suffered a cut and a black eye. He returned to work on Friday, but his daughter said the attack had worried her.

“Now it scares us all, where is my dad going? Is my son’s grandfather coming home now?” Natasha Carrasquillo said.

Kowelessar said the suspect was caught by surveillance cameras and appeared to be in his late 20s or early 30s. To date, no arrests have been made.

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