RALEIGH, N. C. – A 74-year-old man ranting about a broken phone, drove his car through the glass of the window of a Verizon Wireless store in North Carolina, authorities said Friday, beautiful shoppers during the dinner hour in an upscale mall.
Charles Michael Hager was charged with assault with a deadly weapon and damaging property after he drove a 2006 Volkswagen Jetta in the shop at a busy shopping center Thursday night, police said.
A witness told a 911 operator that he saw Hager standing outside the store, located between the two popular restaurants, demanding that it reopen to help him with his broken phone.
“He was demanding to his phone,” the unknown caller said, later adding: “He said:” My damn phone is not working. I need help. Open this damn door.”
A police press release said Hager first kicked the door, breaking the glass, then drove his car through the storefront. Six employees were in the store, but no one was injured.
“There is no front door. All the glass is broken. It is amazing. His front end is still in the front door. I’ve never seen anything like it,” the witness told the 911 operator.
The caller said a crowd of astonished onlookers gathered around the man got out of his car wearing a grey shirt with collar and grey trousers and continued to cry out. The scene unfolded in North Hills Mall, an outdoor shopping mall surrounded by expensive homes and a number of high-rise office buildings north of the city centre.
The operator warned the caller, who was standing 10 feet away, to a safe distance.
Hager did not immediately return a message Friday. A spokeswoman for the police did not know whether he had a lawyer.
For the phone number of the store played a message Friday saying that it was closed, and a sign placed in the window, apologized to customers for the inconvenience. A security guard sat behind a temporary wooden door installed after the crash.
Kate Jay, a regional spokeswoman for Verizon, said the company is grateful that no employees were hurt, but refused to say whether the employees had previous interactions with Hager.
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