A Washington state gas station cashier had no time to react to an avalanche of punches and kicks to the face and head during a violent robbery.
Leah Johnston was attacked by six suspects, some believed to be teenagers, while she was working at the Friendly Normandy Market in Normandy Park on September 15.
The gang hugged cigarettes and candy and robbed the cash register before fleeing.
“The kids don’t seem to be afraid of anything anymore,” Johnston said FOX 13. “There are no repercussions for them like before.”
The thieves laughed as they looted the shelves and one of them struck blow after blow at Johnston, even after she was cowering on the floor.
“I know people who have been robbed, I know deep down that it can still happen. But I never thought I would be attacked in the same way,” Johnston said.
“I mean, my face hurts. But my pride, I think, hurts me even more.
Leah Johnston was working at Friendly Normandy Market when she was ambushed by a group of six thieves wearing masks and balaclavas.
Security camera footage shows the moment Johnston was attacked by one of the suspects, who began punching her in the face.
Some of the suspects are believed to be teenagers. They fled in two stolen cars
The attack, which was captured on a security camera inside the store, lasted about 20 seconds but was brutal to watch.
The footage shows the moment a hooded suspect runs towards the cashier and begins punching her in the face while three others rush towards the shelves to grab the merchandise, scattering it on the floor.
A fifth suspect rummages through the products on the other side of the counter.
A man in a sweatshirt with a sticker that says “PRIMITIVE” on the back walks up to the cash register and starts fiddling with it until it opens.
Johnston cowers, turns away and covers his face to defend himself against the blows.
Her attacker then began violently kneeing her in the chest and punching her in the head until she fell to the ground.
The suspect continues to kick him until he notices that the suspect at the cash register has taken all the bills, then he follows the others out of the store.
At one point, Johnston begged her attacker to stop because she wasn’t fighting back.
Using her arms to cover her face, the cashier tried to defend herself
She was eventually thrown to the ground and kicked several times while the suspects stripped the shelves of merchandise.
Johnston KIRO7 that she wouldn’t ‘let them win’ and would return to work after a break
The suspects took tobacco products, candy and less than $100 in cash.
“It’s just amazing that they’re doing it for as little as they have,” Johnston said. KIRO7.
The cashier had planned to take time off work following the brutal attack, but vowed to return.
“I’m not quitting my job. I love this community. I love people and I love my job,” Johnston said.
She added that the store plans to strengthen security measures to prevent future attacks.
Normandy Park Police Chief Dan Yourkoski said a special unit from the King County Sheriff’s Department is assisting in the investigation.
He told Dailymail.com that the incident occurred around 9 p.m., when six suspects described as juveniles or young black adults assaulted the vendor with closed fists before stealing money from the register as well as store products.
“The investigation continues to identify and hold those responsible accountable,” Yourkoski said. “Fortunately, the employee was not seriously injured.”
Police do not believe a weapon was used in the attack. None appeared on security footage.
The thieves stole candy, tobacco products and less than $100 from the cash register.
Johnston said the store would increase security measures in light of the attack.
The suspects were driving a stolen Kia and Hyundai, both of which were later recovered.
The car brands are important because they have been the subject of a spate of thefts after a TikTok trend told young people how to start them using just a screwdriver and a USB cable.
The trend started in 2021 with a “how-to” video made by two masked individuals called “Kia Boyz.”
They demonstrated how to wire up a Kia by opening the steering column with a screwdriver and inserting the USB stick into the ignition cylinder.
Kia and Hyundai models manufactured between 2011 and 2021 do not have engine immobilizer systems, making them vulnerable to attack.
A class action lawsuit filed in Iowa in August last year said the cars were “easy to steal, dangerous and worth less than they should be if they did not have the defect.”
Los Angeles officials said The viral trend has led to an 85% increase in Hyundai and Kia car thefts in 2022.
In Prince George’s County, Maryland, police said Stolen Kia and Hyundai cars accounted for almost a sixth of all thefts in 2022 and almost half of all thefts in January 2023.