EDMONDS, Wash. - A café worker is recovering in a hospital after trying to stop a thief from stealing her purse, according to Edmonds police.
Police said it happened around 2:15 p.m. on Sunday in the Westgate neighborhood.
On Monday, preparing coffee and food did not feel the same for the team at Jaiiya Café, since their beloved co-worker Lina Luu is out recovering from a fractured skull.
"She’s always there to help us out and just a really kind-hearted person. We’re really missing her," said Chee Wong, the café owner.
Edmonds police said a woman came into the café and left without buying anything. Wong said shortly after, surveillance cameras captured the woman pacing through a garage.
The café’s back door, adjacent to the garage, was cracked open and Luu’s purse was on the floor near it. Wong said Luu was working behind the counter when she saw the woman open the door, snatch the bag and run towards a waiting car.
"She starts shouting out, ‘Stop! Stop!’ and then ran out the door…I ran after her," said Wong. "Next thing I know, I saw [Lina] running up to a car, jumping on the side of the car and then the car accelerating with her on the car."
Luu fell off the speeding car and hit her head. Wong said he did not see a license plate.
"The car almost hit her and it didn’t. And thank God it didn’t because it would have done a lot more, been a lot worse," said Wong.
Police are calling this a "threat to the community" and are investigating.
"It’s one thing to just grab the purse and take off running. But when you fight for it in a way that ends up causing injury to somebody who’s just trying to retain their own property, we know the behavior will likely escalate as you continue to do this," said Sgt. Josh McClure.
McClure described the getaway car as a silver or champagne-colored Acura MDX with possibly tinted windows.
The suspected woman is about 5’4" last seen wearing a white, long-sleeve shirt underneath medical scrubs and has long curly hair, possibly dyed dark red.
Police are working to get surveillance video from surrounding businesses. Anyone who may have seen the getaway car speeding through the Westgate neighborhood or heard something about the incident is asked to call Edmonds Police Department right away. The information could help the investigation and lead to an arrest.
"Any time that we can work with our community to help solve a crime and make the community safer, we’re going to take that opportunity," said McClure. "We have a threat to the community. So, we want to make sure that we’re actively investigating this to the extent that we can and get this person in custody."
Wong said he has known Luu for a very long time and she has worked with him at some of his other businesses. He said the staff couldn’t get back to business without trying to help Luu pay her medical bills. They started a GoFundMe account, and within hours, the community donated more than double the amount of the goal.
"The love that we’ve seen from our customers has been really uplifting and it’s really been helping out," said Wong.
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