Robbery attempt caught on video shows California store clerk fight off knife-wielding suspect

An attempted robbery captured on video at a California mini-market showed the harrowing moments as a store clerk wrestled with the suspect for control of the knife used to threaten her before she got the upper hand.

(Video: Fox 11)

Thursday afternoon in the Los Angeles, California neighborhood of Westlake, 26-year-old Sayda Ventura was working alone at Amaya’s Mini Market, a job she reportedly picked up a month earlier to help pay her way through school where she is studying to be a nursing assistant. Shortly after 2 p.m. a man wearing a red baseball cap returned, having made a purchase moments earlier, and caused a distraction, affording himself the opportunity to get behind the counter to threaten Ventura.

In the video captured by a Ring security camera, the suspect can be seen standing close to the clerk holding her at knifepoint. When he took the blade from her side to position it directly into her abdomen, the woman could be seen moving her hands to the blade before beginning to struggle for control.

With the edge digging into her palm, Ventura wrenched the weapon free from the suspect as he attempted to put her in a headlock before chasing him out of the store. When she returned, she could be heard breathing heavily as she called her boss to report what happened.

“He wanted to get all the money because it was a huge amount of money we were transferring,” owner Rene Amaya told ABC 7. It was believed that the suspect had witnessed a customer make a large wire transfer as he was making his own purchase.

When he returned, he had asked Ventura to retrieve something from behind the counter forcing her to look away as he approached her, pulling a knife from the plastic shopping bag he held. Asked by Fox 11 what the suspect said, the clerk recalled, “He said, ‘Quiet. Don’t say nothing. Don’t move cause I’m killing you if you say something.'”

“It’s really scary. I think all people [are] scared when they see knives or a gun or something like that. It’s super, super scary to me,” she went on and explained that she had called out to her boss during the attempted robbery hoping that he was monitoring the security camera at the time of the incident.

It was also explained that the store keeps a can of pepper spray behind the counter for emergencies, but due to the nature of the sudden attack, Ventura was unable to think to reach for it and acted on instinct.

Fox 11 spoke with the clerk about what she had to say to the suspect after her life had been threatened and she explained matter-of-factly, “Don’t [come] back to here anymore, because I’m killing you if you back.”


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