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BUCKLEY — A Champaign man was charged Thursday with criminal sexual abuse, battery and unlawful restraint in connection with an incident Tuesday at an adult book store in Iroquois County.
Paul T. Zindars, 34, who listed an address in the 1500 block of North McKinley Avenue in Champaign, was arrested Tuesday by Paxton police following a high-speed chase on Interstate 57, according to Paxton Police Chief Bob Bane.
Minutes earlier, Zindars entered the Lion’s Den, 362 E. 800 North Road, Buckley, where he allegedly detained a female employee in an office and fondled her, Iroquois County Sheriff Derek Hagan said.
On Thursday, Iroquois County State’s Attorney Jim Devine filed charges of criminal sexual abuse and unlawful restraint, both Class 4 felonies, and a misdemeanor count of battery against Zindars.
Zindars posted $1,000 bond by credit card Wednesday and was released from the Iroquois County Jail, according to court records. Zindars is scheduled to appear in court for an initial hearing Sept. 4.
Meanwhile, in Ford County, State’s Attorney Matt Fitton charged Zindars with attempting to flee or elude an officer, a misdemeanor.
Bane said police also found several items in Zindars’ possession that were allegedly stolen from a hotel room in Mettawa, a Lake County suburb. The Lake County Sheriff’s Office continues to investigate the alleged theft, as well as extensive damage that was found in the hotel room, Bane said.
Bane said Zindars told him that he works as the project manager for Habitat for Humanity of Champaign County. The nonprofit organization’s website on Thursday listed a Paul Zindars as the construction manager.
Habitat’s executive director, Sheila Dodd, said late Thursday afternoon that she had not been aware of one of her employees being arrested. She declined to say whether Zindars was still employed by the organization and had no further comment.
Hagen said Zindars entered the Lion’s Den, located off of I-57 at the Buckley exit, early Tuesday morning and purchased a magazine. Zindars then engaged in conversation with the two employees working in the store.
“Then at one point he goes into the office area where one of the female employees is, and there’s a confrontation in there,” Hagan said.
Zindars shut and locked the door to the office, according to a news release from the sheriff’s office. Zindars then allegedly picked up the employee and threw her to the ground, then held her to the ground and fondled her, according to the charges.
The confrontation lasted “just a few moments — no more than a couple minutes, if that,” Hagan said.
“Once he was in there, the female employee who was in the office yelled at the other employee, who was (working as) the clerk,” Hagan said. The other employee then dialed 911 and, as Zindars fled the store, she “went into the office to help her co-employee out.”
The victim refused medical treatment at the scene.
Paxton police were notified by dispatchers about the incident and were provided a vehicle description, Hagan said.
Bane said that at 8:06 a.m. he saw a vehicle matching the description traveling on I-57 at the Paxton exit — 10 miles south of Buckley — and then proceeded to follow the vehicle. A 112-mph chase ensued, Bane said, before Zindars stopped around mile post 258, about 3 miles south of Paxton.
Paxton police arrested Zindars at 8:24 a.m., Bane said. When interviewed by police, Zindars allegedly provided “false information about who he was,” Bane said.
Police also found various items they believed were stolen from a hotel room that Zindars stayed in early that morning in Mettawa. The items included a clock radio, a telephone and “a bunch of stuff off the (room’s) walls.”
Bane said that based on conversations with Lake County investigators, Zindars allegedly “thrashed the room, doing about $1,200 in damage to the room.”
Zindars had apparently checked in to the hotel at 3:14 a.m., Bane said. He was at the store near Buckley around 7 a.m.
Assisting with the arrest were the Ford County Sheriff’s Office and Illinois State Police.
Hagan said he is not aware of Zindars having any previous criminal history.