‘I’m flabbergasted’: Vandals caught at Pekin storefront in surveillance video

Published: Sep. 19, 2022 at 6:17 PM CDT
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PEKIN (25 News Now) - A storeowner arrived at her business last week to find oil thrown on the front windows, and religious symbols drawn on the glass later just days later. Now, she’s sharing video footage of what happened.

Megan Matthews is the co-owner of ‘Eye of Newt,’ a Pekin business she describes as a ‘metaphysical shop.’ It all began as a hobby during the pandemic, when Matthews got into candle-making. That pursuit turned into more creative endeavors, including the creation of spiritual items. But recent incidents are putting the safety of her store — and her own — into question.

“We’re in 2022, we’re not in the medieval days,” she says, “where you go after people that aren’t in the mainstream.”

Surveillance footage captured last Monday night shows a group of people walking around for several minutes in front of the store, making gestures and chanting. Several children were also visible.

The audio is mostly indiscernible, but you can make out comments in line with Christian theology. When Matthews came back the next day, she found what she describes as an ‘oily mixture’ thrown on the windows.

Later that same week, she found more oil on the glass, this time in the shape of crosses and crucifixes. Her camera on that side of the storefront wasn’t set up, so she couldn’t see who did it. She and her staff cleaned up the damage, but it still left oily residue on the windowsills below.

Now, she’s planning on adding more cameras to the store, in case the suspects strike again.

“You don’t attack people for who they are or for what they believe,” she tells us.

For Matthews and her co-owner, the store offers more than just items to purchase. It provides a space for those looking for spiritual guidance to gather and speak in a space where they feel secure.

“Instead of deeming something evil or inappropriate or crazy, come and talk to those people who you feel are that way, and do it open-minded,” she suggests.

Matthews filed a suspicious person report with Pekin Police, who confirmed the details she provided to us. The department says they have plans to increase patrols around the store to prevent anything like this from happening again.

Now, Matthews has a message not just for the vandals, but the community.

“We need to learn diversity without division. And once we do that, we can start healing everything that is wrong with this world.”

You can learn more about Eye of Newt and its offerings, including promotion of local artists and future educational events, by visiting their Facebook page here.