East LA street vendor recounts being robbed at gunpoint

EAST LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- An East Los Angeles street vendor is grateful he's safe after being robbed at gunpoint Thursday morning, just hours after a similar crime a few miles away.

The incident happened around 3 a.m. at a food stand. Oswaldo Martinez and his employee were breaking down for the night when the thieves struck.

Martinez said the robbers, described as three young men, got away with about $1,000.

He pleaded with them to calm down, and asked they leave his wallet and personal documents. He had a doctor's appointment to check on his pacemaker.

"I told him, 'Please, relax. You want money? OK, take it. Only leave me my wallet. I need to go to the hospital in the morning,'" Martinez shared.

MORE: Vendors attacked in South LA robbery speak out as search for suspects continues

He feels God gave him another chance. He said his business has been targeted four times in about 10 years and showed Eyewitness News bullet holes from another attempted robbery.

Just about 10 miles away in South L.A. and two hours before Martinez was robbed, a man and woman working at a food stand near 77th Street and Hooper Avenue were also held at gunpoint.

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Two taco stand vendors were robbed at gunpoint in the middle of the night in Florence, and the suspects remain at large.

The woman said the armed men forced them to kneel, reached in to her purse and took all of her money and her ID. She also described the perpetrators as three young men.

Eyewitness News spoke with the local sheriff's stations investigating these crimes, and they haven't determined if they are in fact related.

Back in March, three street vendors were violently attacked near Exposition Park. The brutal attack was captured on surveillance video from a nearby church. All three men were beaten badly by the group of attackers. Police have followed several leads in this case, but 10 weeks later, the trail has gone cold.

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Street vendor Pedro Reyes was viciously beaten by a group of men and one woman near Exposition Park.

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