Police: Bridgeport store owner accused of sexually assaulting customer previously faced similar allegations
Police say a Bridgeport furniture store owner arrested Tuesday after being accused of sexually assaulting a customer was previously apprehended last year.
They say Hennawi Salem, of Salem Furniture, is accused of luring a woman down to the basement of the store to look at a mattress, then telling her to lay down and test it.
Police say Salem told the woman the mattress was free - then had unwanted, inappropriate contact with her. He was charged with fourth-degree sexual assault in connection to the incident.
Police were already familiar with Salem, as they looked into him in 2018. Last September, he was arrested for three different alleged incidents.
"This is one victim that had similar accusations to the first three," says Detective Albert Palatiello. "They were led into the basement on the promise of either more mattresses or discounted mattresses. From there, they were led to a specific corner where he knew there were no cameras set up."
Police say that's when each was sexually assaulted while testing the mattress.
Court documents show one victim said Salem told her not to worry about what happened, with him saying, "It could be their 'secret' and her husband did not have to know."
Police say that woman and another were shopping with their young daughters at the time - who witnessed it all.
Salem is charged with third-degree sexual assault, unlawful restraint and risk of injury to a child in the pending case. He was out on bond when the new complaint came in.
"We've gathered a lot of information. Our victims were very cooperative and gave excellent statements, so we have a clear idea of what happened," Palatiello says.
Salem posted bond in the new case against him.