NEWPORT — The front door of Rex Liquors was shattered, held weakly with tape and plastered with signs that directed customers to use the other entrance way.
The liquor store’s owner, Ratana Hoan, said in his 20 years on Broadway, he’s never had an issue like the one he experienced over the holiday weekend. Surveillance images taken from inside his store, he said, appear to show a person or people kicking the door to his shop early Sunday morning.
On Monday afternoon, other businesses on Broadway — Bike Newport, Newport Skin Therapy, Malt on Broadway and Corner Cafe — also had shattered doors, bound with tape, cardboard or wood.
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It’s not clear if the same person or people caused the damages at all of those businesses. Newport police did not respond to requests for comment Monday, but Hoan said he spoke with police that morning, who had told him the incident was still under investigation. He said he was asked for the price of his door.
Maybe the person or people who allegedly kicked his door had been “testing their feet,” Hoan said with a laugh. His attitude was positive and his sense of humor was there, despite the business’ misfortune.
While there’s never a good time to deal with the phone calls, paperwork and repairs that proceed structural damage, it’s especially difficult to juggle now with the holidays, a busy time of year for Rex Liquors, Hoan said.
Plus, the cold seeping in through the broken door isn’t ideal, he added. Still, Hoan shrugged. He’ll deal with it. It is what it is.
“I was heartbroken,” Mayor Jeanne-Marie Napolitano said in a phone call with The Daily News on Monday after she saw the damaged storefronts while on a walk. “These businesses have been through enough.”
Bari Freeman, founder and executive director of Bike Newport, said she got a text message from a board member Sunday night to notify her of the damage to the nonprofit’s door.
The glass “didn’t break all the way through, so it didn’t trigger the security alarm,” Freeman said Monday.
Asked if the damage happened Saturday night or early Sunday morning, Freeman said the time stamp captured on the Malt on Broadway video showed activity around 1 a.m. Sunday. But “that’s the time stamp at Malt. I don’t know that they know exactly how it all played out.”
“We got a call from someone saying that they had information, and we passed it on to the police department,” Freeman added. “It wasn’t anything very specific … I’m sure that there are others who are doing the same thing. So, it’s a good community, it’s a strong community, it’s a tight community. Anybody who knows something will come forward.”
“I just really hope whoever did it is held accountable,” Freeman said. “It’s just mean-spirited.”
This article originally appeared on Newport Daily News: Businesses on Broadway in Newport RI vandalized