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Couple of dozen protest adult bookstore

Eric Schmadel | Tribune-Review
Protesters gather outside of the newly opened Love Toys shop along route 30 on January 26, 2013 in Unity Township.

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Sunday, Jan. 27, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
 

Despite the snow and cold weather, a church group held a “grand opening” protest on Saturday to oppose the reopening of an adult bookstore along Route 30 in Unity.

”We want to get this place shut down. Promoting pornography destroys families,” said Mike Rager of Latrobe, one of about 25 members of the Living Hope Church in Whitney.

Standing along Route 30 in front of the store, protesters held signs reading such things as “Pornography Hurts Women” and “Godly Men Don't Exploit Women” during an hourlong protest.

A book store representative refused to comment on the demonstrators.

The book store, owned by Bargain Sales Inc. of Allentown, had received a permit to occupy the 3,400-square-foot structure that opened on the same site where a previous adult bookstore had burned down in a June 2011 burned down by one of its employees, Joseph A. Pahel of Latrobe.

Pahel confessed to stealing $300 from the store and setting it afire to cover the theft. Pahel was sentenced in Westmoreland County Court to two to four years on arson and criminal mischief charges.

Unity officials said that the township cannot prevent the bookstore from reopening because it is considered a continuing use that had been disrupted by the fire.

Joe Napsha is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-836-5252 or jnapsha@tribweb.com.

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