Man stabs store employee multiple times during altercation at Westfield UTC mall

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A customer stabbed an employee of the GNC supplemental nutrition store at Westfield UTC mall during an altercation over a product return the evening of Feb. 4, San Diego police said.

The attacker stabbed the victim multiple times in the back during the incident, which police are investigating as a robbery, Officer Robert Heims said in a news release. Paramedics took the victim to a hospital, but his condition was not immediately known.

Heims said the stabbing happened at about 5:50 p.m. just outside the store at the mall at 4545 La Jolla Village Drive. The customer and the employee were arguing inside the store over a return when the customer picked up the item and left.

The employee followed him outside and stopped him, at which time the customer dropped the item and stabbed the employee, Heims said. The man then picked up the product he had taken and fled. He was seen heading east toward Towne Centre Drive.

Police did not have a detailed description of the man, who was not in custody Feb. 4. Anyone with information about the case was asked to call the San Diego Police Department robbery unit at (619) 531-2299 or San Diego County Crime Stoppers’ anonymous tip line at (888) 580-8477. ◆