Police in Stockton, California, are reportedly investigating the assault of an armed robber after a video of two store clerks neutralizing him during the attempted robbery went viral on social media.
The incident took place on July 29 at a 7-Eleven in the California town. Footage uploaded to X (formerly Twitter) shows a would-be robber a blue head-covering behind the cash register, sweeping cigarettes and other products off the shelves into a large trash bin.
One of the clerks, a Sikh man, can be heard on the video asking the man why he was “stealing everything,” to which the robber responded: “Shut [up or]… I’ll pull my strap on your bitch ass,” and labelled them as, “bitch ass n*gga[s].”
While the suspect did not appear to be in possession of a firearm, 33 seconds into the video, a knife can be seen in the suspect’s possession. The bystander recording the video can also be heard asking the robber if he could “get [him] a swisher” without paying for it.
As the suspect continued to load the items into the trash bin, seemingly with the intention of taking the whole bag once done, the bystander repeatedly instructed the store clerks that there “ain’t nothing you can do,” and told them to instead rely on their insurance.
But just as the would-be robber attempts to leave, one of the store clerks grabs him and pulls him onto the ground. The second store clerk then beat the man repeatedly with what appears to be a long wooden stick.
After the video went viral, Stockton Police revealed that the same suspected thief had robbed the same 7-Eleven the day before on July 28 at 3:41AM. During the heist, he stole several cigarette packs and threatened to shoot the clerk before fleeing.
While the alleged thief is now being investigated for robbery, the two store clerks are also under investigation for the assault, with the police confirming that they will forward the conclusions of their investigation to the San Joaquin County district attorney for review, to decide if any charges are to be filed.
The decision to investigate the store clerks has been lambasted by commentators on X (formerly Twitter), with many stating it is “absurd” that the store clerks may be penalized for protecting their business.
“The 7/11 thug wasn’t just a shoplifter… he threatened to shoot the Sikh clerks if they intervened,” said the Daily Wire’s Greg Reese. “He was an armed robber. the media will ignore this because they want to crucify anyone who defends their property.”
“This is Gavin Newsom’s and the modern Democratic Party’s vision for America,” argued former Congressional candidate David Giglio. “Punish the victims and let the criminals run free. America, you’ve been warned.”
However, local media outlet The Modesto Bee claimed in an editorial piece that the store clerks went “too far” in their attempt to stop the robber.
“Although brazen stealing is frustrating, costly and dangerous to store employees, confronting it with violence that far exceeds self-defence is not the answer,” the Bee argued.
“Thrashing the guy with a big rod, viciously and repeatedly, is not a lawful response,” they added, claiming that “at no time did [the robber] appear to pose a physical threat to the clerks,” despite being armed with a knife, and having previously threatened to shoot them.