A Las Vegas vape shop owner repeatedly stabbed a crook who scared him into jumping over his counter during a failed robbery, according to video and the worker’s account of the incident.
Video footage showed the brazen heist in broad daylight on Wednesday, in which Johnny Nguyen, owner of Smokestrom Smoke Shop, stabbed the unidentified assailant at least seven times before the thief shouted “I’m dead” and fell on the ground.
Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department officials told the Post that cops responded to a robbery incident at the vaping business on Wednesday afternoon, but would not release further details.
“I was scared for my life,” Nguyen told the Post on Friday. “When they came in, one of them had a bag in front of him like he had a gun or something. I didn’t have much time to think. I grabbed my knife right next to the crate.
Nguyen, 22, said it was around 3.25pm on Wednesday when two men wearing black ski masks entered his shop while another stood near the door. Video footage showed Nguyen asking the two suspects why they were wearing the ski masks.
When Nguyen asked them to leave, one of the suspects grabbed the tip jar.
“I kindly asked them to leave first, but the guy took my tip jar, which was fine,” Nguyen said. “When they came back and tried to take more, that’s when it got out of hand.”
Surveillance footage showed one of the suspects jumping over the counter and trying to grab some products off the shelf. Fearing for his life, Nguyen said he grabbed his knife with a three-inch blade and stabbed the attacker seven times.
“Please stop! I’m dead! I’m dead,” the would-be thief said as he collapsed to the ground.
“I remember he said, ‘Please don’t let me die,'” Nguyen said. “He said he was sorry. At that point he took off his mask himself. I was trying to talk on the phone with the police when he was trying to talk to me. I just ran and wanted make sure the police and the ambulance would get here in time.
Nguyen said the police told him the thief was 17 years old. His condition was unclear.
The brazen robbery attempt at Nguyen’s Las Vegas store came a day after another California business owner made national headlines after shooting a thief who entered his store in Las Vegas. armed with an AR-15 style rifle.
Video footage also captured Craig Cope, owner of Norco Market & Liquor in Norco, Calif., shooting the armed robber, who ran out of the store screaming and escaped in a vehicle with other suspects.
Nguyen, who turns 23 on Saturday, said he was grateful to have survived the ordeal. He said the incident left him “shaken” and that he planned to consider arming himself with other weapons to protect himself.
“Small business owners like us, it’s our livelihood,” Nguyen told the Post. “Not only do they threaten our lives, but our livelihoods, so we must remain vigilant.”