Woman fights knife attacker stealing from California family business, video shows

A Southern California woman fought a robber armed with a knife last weekend during a minute-long struggle that was caught on video, according to local media outlets.

The robber fled the scene with roughly $1,000 in cash Saturday after grappling with Concepscion Escalante, 23, at ALE Insurance Services, her family’s car registration business east of Los Angeles in Pomona, according to KTLA. Escalante wasn’t injured.

The robber had walked into the store to the desk where Escalante was sitting alone, then revealed the knife and demanded money, video shows.

“I hit him in his private area,” Escalante told KTLA.

The robber fought back, grabbing Escalante by the hair and struggling with her throughout the store, video shows.

“I don’t know how he didn’t cut me anywhere,” she told KTLA.

Escalante said the man had come into the store earlier asking about car registration, KABC reports.

“He was actually so nice,” Escalante told KABC. “Just smiling.”

Escalante told CBS Los Angeles that the man looked “completely fine” on his first trip to the business, with “good health, good teeth — he wasn’t in raggedy clothes.”

But when he returned 20 minutes later, he was acting differently.

“I knew right away he was angry,” Escalante told KABC. “He came in so fast, he practically ran in.”

She chalked her actions against the robber up to instinct

“Money’s not worth it, but in my brain — everybody’s works different — it just wasn’t his,” she told KTLA. “It’s my mom’s business. It’s hard-earned money.”

Workers from a nearby business called 911, but the robber was gone by the time authorities arrived, KABC reported.

“I am a little more aggressive than your average girl, I’ve always known that,” Escalante said, according to KABC. “But he was a lot stronger than I thought.”

Escalante told KTLA she doesn’t recommend others fight back in that situation.

Pomona police said the man involved in the incident is suspected in several robberies and attempts in the area, including at three gas stations. Police shared photos of the suspect and described him as a Hispanic man about 40 years old who has brown hair, brown eyes and a mustache.

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Jared Gilmour is a McClatchy national reporter based in San Francisco. He covers everything from health and science to politics and crime. He studied journalism at Northwestern University and grew up in North Dakota.