Police investigate new suspect in Avon nail salon vandalism
Police investigating suspect caught on surveillance video in addition to ex-boyfriend of a former employee
The owners of Ivy Nails in Avon came to work Friday morning to find that a bucket of white paint had been thrown at their front door.
Police are actively investigating the vandalism and new surveillance video shows the suspect to be a man of slender build between 5 feet, 6 inches and 5 feet, 9 inches tall, Avon Police Chief Greg Daly said Friday.
The video shows the man wore a white shirt and white shoes when he came to the nail salon just before 5 a.m. Friday morning and tossed the contents of a bucket of white paint onto the establishment’s front door, Daly said.
He asked for the community’s help in identifying a man fitting this description who might have been in the area around 5 a.m. Friday.
In light of the rise in anti-Asian hate crimes during the COVID-19 pandemic, Daly said he’s aware of potential concerns that the vandalism of the Asian-owned salon could have been racially motivated, but said police have no reason to believe that is the case in this instance.
“We do not believe this to be an ethnic-based hate crime,” he said.
Police originally thought the incident could be related to previous incidences of domestic harassment of a former nail salon employee by an ex-boyfriend, Daly said.
As of Friday afternoon, he said police had a “high level of confidence” that this ex-boyfriend was out of state at the time of the vandalism. They have opened a parallel investigation into the new suspect captured on video, but have not ruled out that the two could be connected.
Earlier this month, police responded to reports of a disturbance at Ivy Nails between a previous employee and her then-boyfriend, who is also of Asian descent, Daly explained. The former employee worked at the salon for just a few days before ending her employment there.
Since this incident on May 8, it is believed that both the former employee and the boyfriend no longer live in the area, he said.
“Fast forward to (Thursday) night, the business owner received a number of phone calls from (the ex-boyfriend) and the business owner goes in this morning and finds paint on his front door,” Daly said Friday.
Police are still trying to locate the ex-boyfriend as a person of interest in the vandalism, he said. They are unable to release his name at this time.
Kai Dant, who owns Ivy Nails with his wife, confirmed that he received harassing messages on Thursday, which he reported to police right away, but otherwise he said he is not sure what is going on.
“I don’t know what to say,” Dant said Friday.
He described the paint as a “big mess” that has disrupted his operations, but said he is thankful to his neighbors for helping him clean it up.
“My neighbors here at the business complex, everyone is helping me out. They’re very sweet,” Dant said. “It looked like a fresh can of paint, big can of paint, and they just splashed it all over the glass door right in front of the business.”
Dant has owned Ivy Nails with his wife for seven years, he said. He named the salon after his eldest daughter, Ivy.
Ali Longwell contributed reporting.
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