A serial shoplifter set a Bay Area store clerk’s head on fire with stolen lighter fluid after he tried to stop the suspected thief from stealing, according to CCTV evidence.
In a video acquired by CBS News, Kendall Burton is seen fighting with Suraj – a shop employee who chose not to provide his last name out of fear of being attacked again – before dousing the latter’s head with lighter fluid on September 22 at the Appian Food and Liquor store in El Sobrante, 20 miles southwest of Downtown San Francisco.
In the footage, a different employee can be seen swooping in to save Suraj with a baseball bat just before Burton ignites the fluid, which quickly spread to the clerk’s head.
Suraj, who has been employed at the company for the past five years, said that although shoplifters are a common occurrence at the Bay Area location, nothing of this gravity has ever occurred.
Since the attack, the employee has been receiving treatment at Saint Francis Memorial Hospital in San Francisco for face, neck, chest, and shoulder burns of the second and third degrees.
Sabeena, Suraj’s wife, has created a GoFundMe campaign to seek money for her husband’s medical and psychological treatment as he begins his road to recovery.
According to the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office, Burton, a 38-year-old homeless man, is currently accused of robbery, arson, robbery, violence, and assault with a dangerous weapon.