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East Harlem store manager says he was sucker-punched by customer

Police searching for man accused of sucker-punching East Harlem store manager 01:51

NEW YORK -- Police are searching for a disgruntled shopper who sucker-punched an East Harlem store manager, leaving him with a black eye.

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

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

"'I want to beat him up.' So I said, 'Why do you want to beat me? I didn't do you anything. 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 the past nine years.

"I thought he was just shopping or, like, you know, I didn't really think anything," Kowlessar told CBS2's Thalia Perez. "He said, 'Yo, where is the shower liners?' So I said, 'Right over there.' So I continue walking, so he followed me to the office."

Kowlessar says he returned to his office located on the third floor in the back of the store to finish some work, but when he came out moments later, he says 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 says, "He run down the escalator going down, running up the one that I was going on, and then I said, 'Don't follow me.' As I turned my face, he punched me straight in the eye. I didn't expect it."

Kowlessar suffered a cut and a black eye. He was back on the job Friday, but his daughter says the attack has left her on edge.

"Now it put fear in all of us, where, is my dad going to come home? Is my kid's grandpa going to come home now?" Natasha Carrasquillo said.

Kowlessar says the suspect was caught on 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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