Redondo Beach

WATCH: SoCal donut shop owner fights back when man grabs tip-jar cash

The surveillance video shows Chea rush to the front, cross the counter and without hesitation, reach to grab the cash back from him.

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A donut shop owner in Redondo Beach took matters into his own hands when a man tried to steal the cash from his tip jar, crossing the counter to fight for his earnings.

“If someone was in need, I always give them a donut or two. I don't mind that at all. But when you come and steal, that's a whole different story,” Niko Chea said.

Chea has been serving donuts in a small shop on 190th Street for more than three years.

“I love this community,” he said, “Everybody that comes in here is almost like family.”

Monday morning, Chea was making a sandwich in the back when he looked up and saw a man on his surveillance cameras walk in and head straight to the tip jar.

“My first reaction was just to kind of lunge and get everything back from him,” Chea explained.

The surveillance video shows Chea rush to the front, cross the counter and without hesitation, reach to grab the cash back from him. The man attempts to put it into his shirt, but in a quick scuffle Chea gets the money back and the man turns around and walks out.

“Get out of here bro!” Chea can be heard yelling.

While it was only a few dollars, he says it’s money he works 11-hour days for and he is fed up with people to steal from him. Surveillance video from Dec. 30 shows thieves break his glass store front in the middle of the night. They didn’t know Chea was inside prepping donuts for the morning.

“If I didn’t yell, they would’ve come in,” Chea said.

Chea said this was one of five times in the last year he’s been targeted.

I got robbed, I got broken into and then I got stolen from. And now…I got stolen from again,” he exclaimed.

Chea is an immigrant from Cambodia and runs the shop all by himself. “I just don't want to feel like I have to always let someone come and do all this.”

After hearing what happened, people from the community came in Tuesday to support him, picking up a donut or four and leaving dollars in the tip jar. 

“I don’t need the change,” one customer said. “Oh thank you so much,” Chea responded. “Have a wonderful day!”

“When one person's trying to make a business go, a small business, it just breaks my heart to see anybody try to take that away from them,” said customer Pam Sunder. “It also scares me that we've got so many crazy people running around doing this kind of stuff, so I was really pleased to see that Niko just kicked his butt out and took the money back.”

According to Redondo Beach Police crime statistics, there have been more than 300 reports for burglary or breaking and entering in the city in the last year.

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