Suspect in brutal Chinatown robbery linked to other crimes, LAPD says

Eric Resendiz Image
Thursday, November 30, 2023
Suspect in brutal Chinatown robbery linked to other crimes, LAPD says
The attack left the 60-year-old woman with a fractured nose and damage to her eye.

CHINATOWN, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Los Angeles police are seeking the public's help as they investigate a violent armed robbery in Chinatown.

Suspect Courtland Thornton, 31, is in custody but LAPD investigators believe he may be responsible for additional robberies.

Thornton is accused of brutally attacking a 60-year-old store clerk during a robbery at Angies Boutique in Chinatown on Sept. 14.

The store clerk, Van Huyn, was left bloodied on the ground with a fractured nose and a torn eyelid. Huyn said she was hospitalized for three days and had to get 21 stitches.

Thornton is accused of getting away with two art pieces worth $5,000, according to storeowner John Nguyen.

An employee at a boutique in Chinatown was brutally beaten Thursday during a violent robbery that was caught on video.

LAPD detectives said Thornton is accused of committing six other robberies and believe there could be more. They're asking members of the public to contact them if they have more information or may have encountered Thornton.

"Based on our investigation we believe he may be involved in similar robberies where he has not yet been identified," said Det. Huy Nguyen.

Storeowner John Nguyen says the suspect walked into the boutique on Sept. 13, the day before the robbery, acting like a customer.

He asked the owner about some of the most expensive pieces and whipped out some cash pretending like he was going to buy them.

But he didn't buy anything and walked out empty-handed. It wasn't until the next day around 12 p.m. when the suspect returned to the store. Huyn was alone and tried to stop him from entering.

"She tried to grab the lock to lock it. But as she tried, that's when he yanked the door open and was able to get in and steal the items," said the storeowner.

Man arrested after beating of store clerk during robbery in Chinatown

A man accused of attacking a store clerk during a robbery in Chinatown, a disturbing incident that was caught on surveillance video, has been arrested.

Det. Nguyen said Thornton used similar tactics at other businesses across Los Angeles County. He would enter a business, eye expensive items, attempt to steal them and then be confronted by employees.

"It was similar. When he was confronted, he would attack the employees. Often times he would produce a weapon, whether a knife or pepper spray," said Det. Nguyen. "And on some occasions he would threaten he had a gun."

Thornton faces eight counts of robbery and one for assault. He remains behind bars and his bail is set at $1 million.

Huyn is still recovering at home and a GoFundMe was set up to help her pay for medical expenses.

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