The day before Thanksgiving, a man walked into a doughnut shop pretending to be a customer then stabbed a woman working behind the counter. She survived and now police are stepping up their hunt for the alleged attacker. Robert Kovacik reports from Torrance for the NBC4 News at 11 p.m. on Dec. 19, 2013.
A photo of a violent armed robber suspected of stabbing a doughnut shop worker the day before Thanksgiving was released for the first time Thursday in the hopes that someone would recognize the attacker, authorities said.
The "brutal assault" happened during the afternoon hours on Nov. 27 at a Yum Yum Donuts in the 17200 block of Prairie Avenue in Torrance, according to the Torrance Police Department.
Working by herself, a woman was standing behind the counter when a man entered the shop pretending to be customer. He ordered a doughnut and when the worker approached the cash register, he grabbed her by the collar of her shirt and pulled her toward him, surveillance footage shows.
The attacker then lunged over the counter and stabbed the woman with what is believed to be a screw driver. Surveillance footage shows the worker drop to her knees. The attacker grabs her by the hair and slides over the counter, lands on top of her, picks her up by the neck and forces her to open the cash register.
The entire time, the attacker does not stop stabbing the woman, even though, police said, she was complying with his demands throughout the entire encounter.
"He then dragged the female to the back room, attempted to get into the safe that was back there, could not and ultimately left the location," said Sgt. Robert Watt, with the Torrance Police Department.
The victim was treated at the scene and transported to a hospital after the attack. She was recovering Thursday night and cooperating with investigators.
The attacker is described as a black male between 30 and 40 years old, standing about 6 feet tall with a thin build. He was last seen wearing an orange, short-sleeve button-up shirt with khaki pants, a dark blue baseball cap and white tennis shoes.
The strip mall in which the attack happened is popular with students from El Camino College, about a mile away from the doughnut shop.
Anyone with information or who may recognize the man in the surveillance footage is urged to call the Torrance Police Department Detective Division at 310-618-5571.