Los Angeles

‘Who punches an old woman?' Chinatown worker hurt while trying to fight off robber

Doctors are waiting for the swelling in her left eye to go down so they can check for possible internal bleeding, the store owner said

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Surveillance video captured the moment a store employee was punched in the face as she tried desperately to fight off a robber in Chinatown.

Van Huynh was working alone when the robbery took place around noon Thursday at Angies Boutique on the 800 block of North Broadway Street. Store owner John Nguyen said Huynh’s left eye was left swollen shut from the vicious blow.

“She was tugging on him to try to stop him, and she’s a smaller woman. She is maybe 100 pounds and he’s a taller gentleman,” Nguyen said. “And he just punched her right in the face, like closed fist and everything. I mean, who punches an old woman? It’s disgusting.”

Surveillance video showed the man entering the store – which specialized in one-of-a-kind water pipes, art pieces and collectables – and reaching for an item in the window. Huynh tries to stop him from taking it, but he pushes her out of the way and jumps over the counter to grab another item before punching Huynh in the face and taking off.

The video showed only one man inside the store, but the Los Angeles Police Department said investigators are looking for two people.

Nguyen said he actually rang up the attacker on Wednesday, but the man said he wasn’t ready to buy and left. He allegedly stole those same items Thursday.

The items are “very specific” and are worth around $5,000, Nguyen said.


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After the attack, Huynh, who has worked at the store for the last 20 years, was taken to a nearby hospital, Nguyen said, adding that doctors are waiting for the swelling in her eye to go down so they can scan for possible damage or internal bleeding.

A woman who works next door described Huynh as a bright spot in their community who always cares for people in need.

The LAPD asked the public to reach out with information that could help them find the attacker and his alleged accomplice.

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