Smoke Shop Owner Beaten With Hammer in Robbery

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RIVERSIDE, Calif. (KTLA) — The female co-owner of a smoke shop in Riverside is in critical condition after being viciously attacked with a hammer during a robbery.

It happened around 12:30 p.m. Tuesday at Smoke Shop Plus, located at 1788 University Avenue.

The victim’s nephew tells KTLA that 52-year-old Chaula Patadia was working alone when a violent robber entered the store and attacked her with a hammer.

“She’s in the hospital right now in critical condition,” Rahul Lavingia said.

Riverside police say that the victim didn’t try to resist.

Detectives say the robber struck her anyway — several times in the head — knocking her unconscious.

Minutes after the robber took off, a UPS man dropping off a package saw the victim knocked out and called 911.

“Robberies aren’t anything new to this area, but this is in uncharacteristically violent attack,” said Riverside police Officer Bryan Galbreath. “The suspect used unnecessary force.”

You can see in the surveillance video the suspect with the weapon in one hand, as he steals money from the cash register with the other.

We’ve blurred images of the victim laying on the ground in a pool of her own blood.

“Based on his appearance, we think he’s a transient and were confident someone can point him out,” Galbreath said.

“I hope someone gets caught and pays for it. She’s a wonderful mother and this shouldn’t happen to anyone’s mother, sister or aunt,” Lavingia said.

“I know times are tough, but it doesn’t help hurting other people,” he insisted.

The suspect is described as a 35 to 40 year old black male about 6 feet tall and 280 pounds. Anyone with information is asked to call Riverside police.

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