North Hollywood

71-Year-Old Ice Cream Vendor Beaten With Brass Knuckles, Robbed

The grandfather of seven has been selling ice cream in the streets since he came to the U.S. from Mexico 30 years ago

A 71-year-old grandfather, who sells paletas from his ice cream cart seven days a week, was left battered and bruised after being beaten and robbed of his money by two men armed with brass knuckles earlier this week.

Juan Martinez earns a living pushing an ice cream cart up and down Vanowen Street in North Hollywood for eight hours a day, seven days a week. He was working Tuesday when he says two young men beat him, knocked him to the ground and stole his money.

"They don't have a heart," said Martinez's daughter, Laura Rodriguez. "He's 71 years old. He doesn't deserve that."

Martinez, a father of seven and grandfather of seven, says no one stopped to help him and he doesn't have a cellphone to call for help, so he had no choice but to walk a mile back to his home, leaving behind a trail of blood from his fractured nose and cuts on his face.

"He makes maybe $30-40 a day so they stole $80, something that isn't worth his life," Rodriguez said. "They could've killed him."

On Thursday, Martinez spent the day cleaning the blood off his cart, but he wanted to be back on the street selling ice cream — something he has done ever since he came to the U.S. from Mexico 30 years ago. He said he needs to earn money to support himself and his family, including his wife, who also works as a street vendor.

Martinez says he will work until the day he dies or until he can no longer walk. His daughter-in-law started a gofundme page to help Martinez retire. Contributions can be made here.


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The assailants are described as two men in their 20s.

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