Store clerk gets set on fire by homeless shoplifter

EL SOBRANTE, CA – A terrifying incident unfolded in a Bay Area store when a clerk was set on fire by a homeless man with a history of shoplifting. The clerk, identified only as Suraj due to safety concerns, was attempting to prevent the man from stealing when he was doused in lighter fluid and set alight.

The horrifying event, captured on surveillance footage, occurred on September 22 at the Appian Food and Liquor in El Sobrante, near Oakland. Suraj, who has been employed at the store for half a decade, suffered second and third-degree burns to his face, neck, chest, and shoulder.

The alleged perpetrator, 38-year-old Kendall Burton, is currently in custody without bail. The Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office reported that Burton is facing multiple charges, which include assault with a deadly weapon, battery, arson, and robbery.

The incident has sparked a conversation about the rising crime rates in the county. Reports indicate that burglaries have increased by a third, car thefts by a fifth, and rapes by 7.5 percent in the same year. The neighboring Alameda County, which includes Oakland, has also experienced significant crime spikes.

Suraj’s wife, Sabeena, has been vocal about the long road to recovery her husband faces. She has initiated a fundraiser with a goal of $100,000 to cover his physical and mental care costs. Despite the outpouring of support, the fundraiser is still far from reaching its target.

In a GoFundMe post, Sabeena detailed the “horrific workplace incident” that resulted in Suraj’s hospitalization at San Francisco’s Saint Francis Memorial Hospital. She appealed for support and contributions, emphasizing the mental trauma and pressure of medical procedures the family is facing.

Suraj, speaking from his hospital bed, described the overwhelming trauma his family is experiencing. He called for increased security in smaller stores to prevent such incidents. He also revealed that he requires several surgeries and that his family is deeply affected by the incident.