Town in shock after double attack in Alcester where home and business targeted
A CAR was rammed through a shop window in Alcester High Street during a double attack of vandalism that has left the town in shock.
In the space of just 24 hours, the front of The Sun Stop – a tanning business that opened in May – was destroyed and a home in School Road was targeted, where windows were smashed and two vehicles had their windscreens broken.
Warwickshire Police is investigating both incidents.
The first incident happened just after 5.30am on Tuesday (12th July) when a car, possibly a black Citroen, was driven through the window of The Sun Stop, which is owned by Larissa Chandler.
The building’s owners, Jan and Red Masterson, who have lived over the shop since 2002, were woken by the crash.
Jan told the Herald: “We were in bed and the noise woke us up. It was a massive crash and we thought it was two vehicles that had collided. We looked down out of the window and thought ‘oh my god!’.
“I am in absolute shock and distress. It’s horrible. It’s just not Alcester.”
The violence continued in the early hours of yesterday (Wednesday) morning at about 1.20am when it was reported that three men smashed the windscreens of a van and car, and two downstairs windows at a home in School Road.
A woman and two children were in the house at time, but no one was injured.
The Sun Stop owner, Larissa, said she knows the woman who lives in the house which attacked and told the Herald she believed her business and the home were deliberately targeted.
“This comes down to jealousy,” she said.
Larissa also alleged she had been the victim of verbal and online threats, which had been reported to the police.
Her father Michael Chandler added: “Someone jealous has done this intentionally. You can see that it was deliberate as someone has put two bricks on the road so they could drive up onto the pavement.”
The attack on the shop sparked a strong community response from Alcester residents, many of whom were shocked by the incident.
“It was a hell of a shock,” Steve Keeling told the Herald. “Stuff like this doesn’t happen in Alcester. At least it shouldn’t.”
Jen Hopkins said: “It is absolutely devastating to see a new business knocked off their feet before they’ve even got started.
"I am so sorry this has happened. Why anyone would be so reckless and endanger life is beyond me.”
Serena Lowe added: “We pride ourselves on a wonderful, friendly and safe town. It is disgusting that something like this has happened on our lovely high street.”
Concerned residents and businesses have rallied round Larissa, offering messages of support with volunteers helping to board up the shop and make the boards look nicer with some artwork – a colourful sunset and palm trees.
A GoFundMe page set up by a well-wisher has so far raised £280.
It is hoped that the shop will be open for business again shortly.
Larissa said on Facebook on Wednesday morning: “Thank you so much from the bottom of my heart for everyone’s kind words, thoughts and offers of help. We will be sorting out the inside of the shop tomorrow so that the beauty room and our lie down sun bed are still open for use. Alcester is truly an amazing community.”
Warwickshire Police said its investigations were ongoing and appealed for witnesses to come forward.
“We were called at 5.37am on Tuesday, 12th July to a report of a vehicle in collision with a shop on High Street, Alcester,” said a spokesperson. “Damage was caused to the building and enquiries are ongoing.”
They added: “We were [also] called at 00.56 yesterday morning (Wednesday) to a report of a car and house window being damaged on School Road, Alcester.
“If anyone witnessed the incident or any suspicious behaviour in the area at this time, please call Warwickshire Police on 101 quoting incident number 13 of 13th July.”
Witnesses to the High Street incident can also call 101, quoting incident number 55 of 12th July.