SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX) — A San Francisco Chinatown shop owner told KPIX that over the weekend she was hit in the face and pepper sprayed by a teenager she says was out for revenge.
Fanly Chen is the owner of GoApple — a phone repair and accessories store on Grant Avenue in Chinatown. She said first, a thief stole from her. Then he returned later the same day to terrorize her.READ MORE: 'No Sideshow Zone;' Antioch Unveils Prevention, Enforcement Action Against Planned 'Rideout' Event
She tells KPIX her assailant is still loose on the street.
In surveillance video she shared Monday, Chen is seen in white as a teen wearing a yellow shirt entering the store and pepper spraying her while she helped another customer on Saturday before 6 p.m.
“I have the pepper [spray] just go straight in my eyes. It was very painful,” Chen remembered. “Immediately you feel like, blind. You can’t open your eyes; your whole face is like burning…You feel like you cannot breathe very well.”
Chen said customers called 911 because she couldn’t see. She went to the hospital to get treatment for her eyes.
She said hours before she was pepper sprayed, the teen had swiped a handful of iPhone Max cases from her store. She snapped a photo of the suspect. She told KPIX he returned shortly after the original theft, claiming he wanted to exchange the cases for the right ones.READ MORE: Jefferson Award Winner Aims To Bridge Digital Divide Among Bay Area High School Students
“‘First of all, you did not pay [for] it. And second of all, if you want to exchange it, show me the receipt first, okay?'” explained Chen. “And he said ‘No, no, no, I just want those free and walk away, go out.’ So I say ‘Stop, if you don’t pay for it, I’ll call the police. You have to pay for it first.’ And he said, ‘Call the police.'”
Chen said she followed him out of the store and claims he then hit her in the face. Two tourists stepped in to help and were able to get her stolen cases back. A bystander was hit in the eye in the process.
Chen said she recognizes the suspect because — she claims — he often steals from her store and other Chinatown businesses.
“He doesn’t care about anybody. [When you] call police, before the police coming, he already run away. Even the police know who he is,” said Chen. “The police cannot do anything about it because it’s like 50 dollars, 20 dollars every time.”
Chen told KPIX every dollar counts at a time when already struggling small businesses in Chinatown are barely scraping by with reduced foot traffic due to the pandemic.
“No tourists. Yeah, we barely opened. We work so hard,” said Chen.MORE NEWS: UPDATE: Suspect Arrested After 94-Year-Old Asian Woman Stabbed In San Francisco's Tenderloin Neighborhood
San Francisco police said there has been no arrests in the incident.