Employee Fighting for her Life After Assault

14 Mar, 2024 Liz Carey

                               

Commerce, CA (WorkersCompensation.com) – A beauty store employee is fighting for her life after a group of shoplifters attacked her for trying to stop them from leaving the store earlier this month.

Officials said on March 6 an employee of the M Beauty store tried to block a doorway as four women attempted to leave a store with several stolen items. In turn, the women attacked the worker and violently tossing her to the ground outside of the store, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said.

In video of the attack, the woman is seen struggling with one of the attackers who then throws her to the ground. After hitting the ground, the employee stands up again before staggering and falling back onto the parking lot’s asphalt.

In a statement, the Sheriff’s office said the employee “fell to the ground headfirst causing her to lose consciousness.” The 32-year-old employee is still in the hospital, family members said, after suffering two heart attacks in the aftermath. Family members told the Los Angeles Times she remained unconscious for days.

“My daughter is in a delicate state,” Enrique Sandoval, the employee’s father, said. “She opens her eyes and moves them from side to side, but that’s it… To see my daughter in this situation, in this state, I almost want to go crazy, but I need to be strong to keep going.”

The family has asked that the employee not be identified out of concerns for her safety.

Sandoval said his daughter is in the intensive care unit with machine assistance to keep her heart pumping. Reports indicate that the woman had a prior heart condition. The employee’s family has started a GoFundMe account to help pay for her medical care. As of Wednesday night, the GoFundMe account had raised more than $11,000.

Daniel Min, the owner of M Beauty said the employee had worked at the store for about five years and worked her way up to assistant manager. He said he was not clear on why she attempted to stop the shoplifters, and that it is not something employees are expected to do.

“I always tell them their health and safety are priority,” Min said.

Min said his teams had been told to let shoplifters know they were being recorded and would be reported to police, but not to step in any other way. However, he said, he understood how difficult it is to watch continuous thefts

“She’s been working with us for a long time; even our employees get sick and tired of all these people who steal,” Min said. “These people try to come in grab a bunch of stuff and run out. ... It happens everywhere, and I feel like it’s getting worse and worse.”

Nationally, employee injuries as a result of theft have been increasing.

A report by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in 2023 found that more than half of small business owners across the US (54 percent) reported an increase in shoplifting in 2021. And a survey of larger retailers by the National Retail Federation (NRF) found that organized retail crime costs stores an average of more than $700,000 per $1 billion in sales in 2020, up 50 percent since 2015.

Increasingly, those thefts turn violent, the NRF said. In its 2022 Retail Security Survey, 8 out of 10 retailers reported increased incidents of violence and aggression.

"Retailers are seeing unprecedented levels of theft coupled with rampant crime in their stores, and the situation is only becoming more dire," NRF Vice President of Asset Protection and Retail Operations David Johnson said in a statement. "Far beyond the financial impact of these crimes, the violence and concerns over safety continue to be the priority for all retailers, regardless of size or category."

Another recent study found that general retail stores had the highest increase in injuries and illnesses between 2017 and 2021. The study, from Jackman Law Firm, found that the rate of incidents grew from 4.1 for every 100 workers in 2017, to 5.6 for every 100 workers in 2021. Top retailers like Walmart, Target and Macy’s are some of the chain retail establishments seeing increased incidents of retail theft and violence, and were included in the study, officials said.


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    • Liz Carey

      Liz Carey has worked as a writer, reporter and editor for nearly 25 years. First, as an investigative reporter for Gannett and later as the Vice President of a local Chamber of Commerce, Carey has covered everything from local government to the statehouse to the aerospace industry. Her work as a reporter, as well as her work in the community, have led her to become an advocate for the working poor, as well as the small business owner.

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