Transient Arrested After Allegedly Biting Off Part of Venice Restaurant Owner’s Finger

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The owner of a Venice restaurant was recovering Sunday after part of his finger was allegedly bitten off by a transient during a violent altercation.

Clabe Hartley is seen wearing a bandage on Sunday, March 22, 2015, the day after part of his finger was bitten off in a scuffle at his restaurant in Venice.  (Credit: KTLA)

Clabe Hartley is seen wearing a bandage on Sunday, March 22, 2015, the day after part of his finger was bitten off in a scuffle at his restaurant in Venice. (Credit: KTLA)

The bizarre incident began 9 a.m. Saturday outside the Cow's End Cafe, where a group of customers pointed out a man in his 20s who they said had been harassing them for money, according to Clabe Hartley, the business's owner.

When Hartley asked the man to leave, the transient began punching and scratching him, said Lt. Lydia Leo of the Los Angeles Police Department.

Two or three patrons joined the scuffle, in an attempt to help Hartley, Leo said. The fight continued on the ground, and at some point the suspect bit the restaurant owner's finger, witnesses told police.

"I was bleeding like an open faucet. There was blood all over out there," Hartley told KTLA on Sunday. "I could see the openness (of the finger). It was missing a piece."

Officers responded to a phone call reporting the incident and the transient was taken into custody on suspicion of aggravated mayhem, according to the LAPD. His name was not released.

"He voluntarily told police that he bit my finger off on purpose," said Hartley, whose injured digit remained wrapped in a bandage.

The suspect was being held at the Twin Towers Correctional Facility in downtown Los Angeles, Leo said. LAPD detectives are investigating the case and plan to present it to the district attorney's office for review.