Shopping woman looking at the shelves in the supermarket. Portr

Retail, Food Service Workers Continue Facing Attacks on Job

16 Apr, 2024 Liz Carey

Shopping woman looking at the shelves in the supermarket. Portr

Wappingers Falls, NY ( – A dollar store employee sustained injuries during a robbery in Dutchess County, one of a few employees attacked across the country recently.

According to law enforcement officials in Dutchess County, a store associate at the Dollar General store was injured during an attempted robbery. Officials said police responded to a robbery call at the Dollar General in Wappingers Falls, when they receive a called that the employee was being attacked by two female suspects.

Officers said the women attacked the employee, and then fled the store along with the additional females in a white Nissan sedan.

In Austin, Texas, an employee suffered minor injuries after a customer threw Pop-Tarts at them.

Jonathan Steele, 33, is facing second-degree felony robbery charges after he attacked a Walgreen’s employee. Officials said Steele entered the store and was accused of shoplifting by one of the Walgreen’s employees. The accusation led to an argument between the two in the parking lot.

Police said that video of the argument showed that the altercation escalated until Steele threw Pop-Tarts at the employee, hitting them in the collar bone and causing minor injury.

Steele remains free on a $1,500 bond.

In Fresno, Calif., a man was arrested for attempting to sexually assaulting a northwest Fresno Mattress Firm employee.

On April 10, police were called to the mattress store just after 10:30 a.m. Police said Xiang Zhao, 34, entered the store wearing all black and attacked one of the employees, then tried to sexually assault her. The woman was able to fend of Zhao, escape and call the police.

The victim suffered minor injuries and was released after being treated.

Investigators said Zhao fled the scene after the victim was able to get away and call the police. Police said the victim was in the store alone at the time and that she did not know the suspect.

"The victim is being cared for. We do know that she has minor physical injuries, bruises and scratches, but obviously the other injuries, emotional injuries will be longer lasting for her," said Fresno Police Sgt. Diana Trueba Vega.

Zhao was apprehended and arrested based on the victim’s description. It’s not believed he has a prior criminal history.

On April 11, an employee working at a deli in the Washington Heights neighborhood of New York City, was attacked in what officials said was an unprovoked attack.

Police said they were called to a deli on 161st Street around 11 p.m. The incident started with a man in a hoodie starting a fight with an older man. Video of the incident showed a man with a green jacket over a gray hoodie, white sneakers, and a cane instigated a dispute with a 71-year-old man.

Moments later, a man, Jose Navarro, stepped in to stop the attack. Navarro, an employee at the deli, said the older man was his friend.

Navarro told media outlets that the assailant took three swipes at his friend’s neck with a box cutter – twice with the blade retracted, and then a third with the blade out. The third swipe cut his friend’s neck, Navarro said.

According to police reports, the man attacked Navarro too, swiping at his face. Navarro said he ducked, and blocked a second swipe with his right arm. The attacker was able to connect with his last swipe which left a cut on his left arm.

Both victims refused medical treatment and the assailant fled on foot.

And on April 8, a man was arrested in Pittsburgh after he attacked an employee with an empty beer bottle.

Owen Peiffer, 23, also of Pittsburgh, faces felony charges of aggravated assault after allegedly attack an employee of Tequila Cowboy.

According to police reports, an employee at Tequila Cowboy was working as a barback and going from bar to bar within the establishment when he bumped into Peiffer. The two men started arguing afterwards, police said.

When the argument grew heated, Peiffer grabbed an empty beer bottle and broke it over the head of the victim, cutting his forehead. Employees of the bar pinned Peiffer to the ground until police could respond. An off-duty officer working security at the bar detained and cuffed Peiffer.

Peiffer will face initial court hearings on April 18. The victim suffered lacerations to his head in the attack.

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    About The Author

    • 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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