Support for LAist comes from
We Explain L.A.
Stay Connected

Share This


Photo: Customer Punches Gas Station Clerk Over $1.41 Cigar

Stories like these are only possible with your help!
You have the power to keep local news strong for the coming months. Your financial support today keeps our reporters ready to meet the needs of our city. Thank you for investing in your community.

Sheriff's deputies are looking for a man who punched a gas station clerk in the face after they argued about a cigar he was trying to purchase. The brutal blow captured on tape could leave the clerk permanently blind in one eye.The incident happened right in the middle of the day on September 7 at a busy Chevron gas station in Lakewood, according to a release from the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department. It was around 1:15 p.m. and there was a long line. When the suspect got to the front, he asked for a Swisher Sweet cigar.

Authorities said when the suspect handed the 23-year-old clerk identified as Yadira Lara a dollar bill, she informed him that he needed to pay an extra 41 cents. He got mad at her and threatened her. Lara pulled the cigar away from him and put it under the counter so that he couldn't reach it. The clerk asked him to leave the store.

The clerk told KTLA, “I just said ‘You need to get out’ and he just says the 'b' word."

That's when the suspect leaned over the counter and punched the woman in the face before fleeing. She told KTLA no one in the store came to her aid: "No one did anything, not one of them."

Support for LAist comes from

Lara told NBC Los Angeles that the punch injured her left eye, which already had problems from a childhood injury. She was left with permanent damage that could leave her blind in her left eye.

The whole encounter was caught on surveillance video, but sheriff's detectives at the Lakewood Station still haven't been able to find him. He's described as a black male, 35-45 years old, 6'0" to 6'4", 215-225 pounds with a slight mustache and beard. Anyone with information should call the Lakewood Sheriff’s Station at 562-623-3500.