The owners of the organic food store in the Southern Highlands, who made headlines last week after footage of their violent arrest went viral across social media, have been arrested for a second time.
Victoria Kleeberg, 62, and her husband Mark, 63, of The Organic Store in Bowral, were taken into custody on Thursday and charged with hindering police and assault, after officers allegedly attempted to remove a customer from the store for not wearing a mask.
The owners said they had prohibited the wearing of facecoverings in their store due to hygiene concerns, explaining that masks are “not appropriate” in an open food store, as people constantly touch them, adding, there is no knowing whether they are three-minutes or three-months old.
Police visited the store again yesterday, arresting Victoria for a second time, along with an employee.
A customer who was in the shop at the time of the arrest told Caldron Pool that police were unable to answer specific questions that Victoria and her staff raised in relation to the lawfullnesss of police actions.
The witness said police eventually left the store, only to return a short time later to arrest Victoria and another employee and detain them at Moss Vale Station.
According to Victoria, the pair were held for over five-hours before being charged and subsequently placed on conditional bail requiring masks to be worn inside the store at all times. Had they not agreed to the conditions of release, police allegedly threatened to take the pair to Goulburn gaol.
“We hope to start a GoFundMe for the lawyers defending us and the many other small business stores that have been forced to close,” Victoria said.
Adding, “Small business is the target. Fear is the mode. Tyranny and control is the result. We MUST stand together and support each other.”
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