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Man Punches Store Clerk in Dispute Over Cigar

Surveillance video showed a man viciously punching a store clerk in the face during a dispute over the price of a cigar.

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A suspect in the brutal punching of a Lakewood gas station cashier over 41 cents has been arrested, authorities said Thursday.


Surveillance footage from the Lakewood Chevron shows an attacker reaching over the counter and punching the clerk in the face. (Lakewood police)

Kendrick Ruth, a 35-year-old Long Beach resident, was arrested Wednesday on suspicion of robbery and assault, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s Lakewood Station announced.

Detectives had been searching for the attacker since his Sept. 7 assault, which occurred at a Chevron gas station on Lakewood Boulevard and was sparked by a dispute over the price of a cigar.

Surveillance video showed the man waiting in a long line inside the gas station at around 1:15 p.m.

When he reached the register, he asked the cashier — a 23-year-old female — for a $1.41 Swisher Sweet cigar, Lakewood sheriff’s deputies said. The man only offered a dollar bill, and when the employee prompted him for the additional 41 cents, he began to argue and tried to grab the cigar from her hand.

When she asked the man to leave, he swung his fist over the counter and punched her across the face. The clerk suffered “severe injuries” as a result of the assault, sheriff’s officials said Thursday.

Ruth was admitted to Men’s Central Jail in downtown LA with bail set at $100,000. His arraignment is scheduled for Friday at Bellflower Superior Court.

Authorities in Lakewood were searching Thursday for a man who viciously punched a store clerk in the face during a dispute over the price of a cigar.

It happened on Sept. 7, at a Chevron gas station on Lakewood Blvd.


Man sought for punching store clerk in dispute over cigar. (Lakewood police)

Surveillance video shows the man standing in a long line at the register about 1:15 PM.

When it was his turn at the register, he asked the 23-year-old employee for a $1.41 Swisher Sweet cigar, according to Lakewood sheriff’s deputies.

The man allegedly handed the woman a dollar bill.

When she told him he needed an additional 41 cents, he protested and threatened her, authorities said.

The man can be seen trying to grab the cigar out of the employee’s hand, but she was able to put it behind the counter out of his reach.

She then asked the man to leave the store.

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

Instead of leaving, the man leaned over the front counter and punched her in the face with his right hand.

The clerk, who did not want to be identified, says she was scared and also surprised that no one came to her aid.

“No one did anything, not one of them,” she said.

She still finds it hard to believe someone would punch her over a cigar.

“It just got me really mad, like over that, really?”

The man is described as black, 35 to 45 years old, standing between 6 feet and 6 feet 3 inches tall, weighing 215 to 225 pounds, with short black hair, a slight mustache and a beard.

Anyone with information was urged to contact the Lakewood Sheriff’s Station at 562-623-3500.