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Business Owners Brawl During Heritage Days Street Fair

The following information was supplied by the Salem Police Department. Where court summons charges are mentioned, it does not indicate a conviction.

said two Essex Street Pedestrian Mall owners got into an altercation that ended after one was sprayed in the face with mace.

The incident occurred during the Essex Street Fair on Saturday.

At 12:58 p.m. Saturday, police said an officer responded to the area of 131 Essex St., where he had previously taken a report from a business owner, after he was informed the woman got into a fight with another business owner.

Police said the owner of New England Magic, Joanna Thomas, told them she was taking pictures of spilled oil outside her business when the owner of Crow Haven Corner, Laurie Stathopoulos, came down the mall, "slapped the camera out of her hand and it fell to the ground and broke," according to police.

Thomas told police that Stathopoulos then grabbed her necklace and pulled it off her neck. Then, she said, the two women exchanged punches and Stathopoulos allegedly "pushed her up against the store window."

Police said the woman's boyfriend (Karl Sirois), armed with mace, came out of the store, separated the women and sprayed the woman in the face with mace, which police said he is licensed to carry legally.

Stathopoulos says things happened differently

Stathopoulos told police she was walking down the sidewalk toward her business when she saw Thomas taking photos of her. When she saw Thomas taking pictures, Stathopoulos said "she yelled out at her not to take pictures of her." Stathopoulos said Thomas came after her and they started to fight. During the altercation, Stathopoulos told police a man stepped in and sprayed her with mace, according to police. 

A woman, who had been walking with Stathopoulos, corroborated Stathopoulos' account of the incident.

Stathopoulos will be summonsed to court on charges of assault and battery and property over $250 (the camera and necklace).

Police said Sirois will be summonsed to court on charges of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon (mace).

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