Suspected shoplifter attacks Phoenix store clerk

Posted: Updated:
A clerk was punched in the head by a suspected shoplifter. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) A clerk was punched in the head by a suspected shoplifter. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
In the video the suspect is seen rushing toward the store worker and punching him in the side of the head. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) In the video the suspect is seen rushing toward the store worker and punching him in the side of the head. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
The worker suffered a fractured eye socket, according to Brian Lee, and required surgery. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) The worker suffered a fractured eye socket, according to Brian Lee, and required surgery. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
The employee is having trouble with sight in the injured eye. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) The employee is having trouble with sight in the injured eye. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
The incident happened at the Super 99 Cent Store at 27th Avenue and Van Buren Street last week.(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) The incident happened at the Super 99 Cent Store at 27th Avenue and Van Buren Street last week.(Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -

A Phoenix store clerk is recovering from being seriously hurt after he was attacked by a suspected shoplifter.

The incident happened at the Super 99 Cent Store at 27th Avenue and Van Buren Street last week.

Surveillance video from inside the store shows the suspect putting laundry detergent down the front of his pants.

The store employee reportedly saw this happen and confronted the suspect who left the detergent inside the store and left.

Surveillance video from outside the store shows the suspect leaving. You then see the store worker leave the store with a phone to his ear. The suspect then re-enters the video, rushing toward the store worker and punching him in the side of the head. The worker, who we are told is 62 years old, falls, clearly smashing the right side of his face on the ground. The worker can then be seen turning on his back, kicking his legs in the air, writhing in pain.

Brian Lee owns the store and said when he first saw the video he wanted to make sure the suspect goes to jail.

“The stealing I can forgive him, but hitting people, I cannot forgive him. That's not right,” said Lee.

The suspect got away. Lee is offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to the suspect’s arrest.

The worker is a longtime friend of Lee’s who notified his boss that he would be retiring in a couple of weeks.

“He told me that end of this month he's not going to do any more work in dollar business. So, I said, 'OK, thank you for your job,'” said Lee.

Phoenix police said the victim is hesitant to press charges. Lee is hoping to convince him to change his mind because he thinks the same suspect could attack someone else.

The worker suffered a fractured eye socket, according to Lee, and required surgery. He is out of the hospital and recovering.

Lee said his employee is having trouble with sight in the injured eye.

If you have any information about this crime, call Silent Witness at either 480-WITNESS (948-6377) or 1-800-343-TIPS (8477). Spanish speakers may call 480-TESTIGO (837-8446). (Click or tap phone number to call from this story on your mobile device.)

Click/tap here to download the free azfamily mobile app.

Copyright 2017 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.


Donna RossiEmmy Award-winning reporter Donna Rossi joined CBS 5 News in September 1994.

Click to learn more about Donna.

Donna Rossi

In that time, Donna has covered some of the most high-profile stories in the Valley and across the state. Donna's experience as a four-year veteran of the Phoenix Police Department gives her a keen sense of crime and court stories. She offered gavel to gavel coverage of the 1999 sleepwalking murder trial of Scott Falater, and the trial and conviction of retired Catholic Bishop Thomas O'Brien for a fatal hit and run accident. She also spent 2 straight weeks in northeastern Arizona in the summer of 2011 covering the Wallow Fire, the largest wildfire in Arizona history.

Donna's reputation as a fair and accurate journalist has earned her the respect of her colleagues and community. Her talent as a reporter has earned her more than a dozen Arizona Associated Press Awards and five Emmy statue.

Donna previously worked as an anchor and reporter in Tucson and got her start in broadcast journalism in Flagstaff. Donna is a past president of the Rocky Mountain Southwest Chapter of the National Academy of Arts and Sciences and currently serves on the NATAS board. She is a member of IFP/Phoenix, a non-profit organization of local film and documentary makers.

Donna was born in New York and moved to the Valley with her family when she was 9 years old. She is a graduate of Maryvale High School and attended Arizona State University. She graduated cum laude from Northern Arizona University.

In her free time, Donna enjoys boating on Bartlett Lake, all forms of music and theatre. Donna frequently donates her time to speak to community organizations and emcee their events. She is a past board member of DUET, a non-profit which helps promote health and well-being for older adults. Donna also loves donating her time to youth organizations and groups who work to secure and safeguard human rights.

On Oct. 17, 2015, Donna was honored for her amazing work over the years. The Rocky Mountain Chapter of the National Academy of Televisions Arts and Sciences inducted her into its Silver Circle. It's one of the organization's most prestigious honors for which only a few candidates are selected each year.

Hide bio