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Two men suspected of striking clerk in Hazel Dell tobacco store robbery

Two Oregon men are suspected of striking a store clerk in the head with a glass water pipe after stealing from a Hazel Dell tobacco store.

Jose Luis Vega Salazar, 19, of Fairview, Ore., made an in-custody first appearance Friday in Clark County Superior Court on suspicion of first-degree robbery. Judge Daniel Stahnke set bail at $60,000, and an arraignment was scheduled for Jan. 15, according to court records.

Cruz Antonio Dominguez, 18, of Portland appeared Wednesday on suspicion of the same charge. Judge Gregory Gonzales set bail at $40,000, which Dominguez posted, and an arraignment was set for Jan. 15, court records say.

Shortly before 6 p.m. Nov. 30, Clark County sheriff’s deputies responded to a report of a robbery at Discount Tobacco & Beverages, 6301 N.E. Highway 99. A witness reported that two males had stolen a bong — a glass water pipe — from the store and, when confronted by a store clerk, attacked him with another one, according to an affidavit of probable cause.

The clerk, Mohammad Kazem, suffered several cuts on the side of his face, and blood from his head had covered his jacket, according to the affidavit. Kazem told investigators that the men had entered the store and asked him to show them a piece for a separate bong they had brought to the store, the affidavit said.

When the piece didn’t fit, the men asked if they could see another bong, according to the affidavit. Kazem handed them the other bong before they ran out of the store, the affidavit said.

As Kazem chased them in the parking lot, they turned and slammed the bong they had brought — 8 to 12 inches long and made of thick glass — against his head, causing him to fall to the ground, according to the affidavit. While Kazem was on the ground, the men repeatedly punched and kicked him, the affidavit said.

The two men then fled the scene. Following a roughly monthlong investigation — including a review of surveillance footage, witness interviews and records searches — warrants were issued and the men were arrested.


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