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Scappoose Smoke Shop owner, manager arrested after in-store wrestle

The owner and manager of the Scappoose Smoke Shop were arrested last week for disorderly conduct after police say the pair fought inside the store, knocking over shelves and scattering cigarette packs during their scuffle.

The relationship between owner John Harper Jr. and his employee Phillip Bates has been tense for a number of years, according to a Scappoose Police report. That tension led to the alleged brawl on Feb. 16. Police responded around 11:17 a.m. to find shelves tipped over and a large amount of cigarettes and other merchandise scattered on the floor. Bates was bleeding from his nose and right hand and Harper had a torn shirt.

Harper reportedly told police an argument had gotten out of hand, which led to a fight and 'wrestle' before police arrived. Bates told officers they knocked over shelves in the struggle and continued to grapple on the floor after falling.

Both were cited for second-degree disorderly conduct and taken to the Columbia County Jail. Neither pressed charges.

Bates said he and Harper would not comment.

The Scappoose Smoke Shop and the unaffiliated Tobacco World in St. Helens were both raided on Jan. 25 for allegedly selling 'synthetic marijuana' containing a chemical banned by the Oregon Board of Pharmacy in 2010.

Bates disputes that the Smoke Shop did anything illegal in regards to the allegations their business was selling the drug.

No arrests have been made or charges filed following the raids, but law enforcement officials say they are continuing to build a case, which is expected to be heard by the Columbia County Grand Jury.