Las Vegas vape store owner defends himself by stabbing would-be robber

A Las Vegas vape store owner repeatedly stabbed a crook who frightened him by jumping over his counter during a botched robbery, according to video and the worker’s account of the incident.

Video footage showed the brazen broad-daylight heist on Wednesday, in which Johnny Nguyen, owner of Smokestrom Smoke Shop, stabbed the unidentified assailant at least seven times before the robber yelled, “I’m dead” and fell to the ground. 

Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department officials told The Post that cops responded Wednesday afternoon to a robbery incident at the vape business but would not release further details.

“I was scared for my life,” Nguyen told The Post on Friday. “When they came in, one of them had a bag in front of him like he had a firearm or something. I didn’t have much time to think. I grabbed my knife right next to the register.”

Nguyen, 22, said it was around 3:25 p.m. on Wednesday when two men wearing black ski masks entered his shop while another stood by the door. Video footage showed Nguyen asking the two suspects why they were wearing the ski masks. 

When Nguyen asked them to leave, one of the suspects grabbed the tip jar. 

Johnny Nguyen, the owner of Smokestrom Smoke Shop in Las Vegas, stopped an attempted robbery at his store by stabbing the suspect.
Johnny Nguyen, the owner of Smokestrom Smoke Shop in Las Vegas, stopped an attempted robbery at his store by stabbing the suspect.
Johnny Nguyen

“I asked them first nicely to leave but the guy took my tip jar, which was fine,” Nguyen said. “When they came back and tried to take some more, that’s when it escalated.”

Surveillance footage showed one of the suspects jump over the counter and try to grab some products off the shelf. Fearing for his life, Nguyen said he grabbed his knife with a three-inch blade and stabbed the assailant seven  times.

“Stop, please! I’m dead! I’m dead,” the would-be robber said as he collapsed to the ground.

Nguyen said he was scared for his life when one of the suspects went behind his counter.
Nguyen said he was scared for his life when one of the suspects went behind his counter.
Johnny Nguyen

“I remember him saying, ‘Please don’t let me die,’” Nguyen said. “He said he was sorry. By that point, he took off his mask himself. I was trying to get on the phone with the police when he was trying to talk to me. I just ran and wanted to make sure the police and ambulance would get here on time.”

Nguyen said police told him the robber was 17-years old. His condition was not clear.

The brazen attempted robbery at Nguyen’s Las Vegas shop happened a day after another business owner in California made national headlines after he shot a robber who entered his liquor store armed with an AR-15 style rifle.

Nguyen stabbed the 17-year-old suspect at least seven times during the botched robbery.
Nguyen stabbed the 17-year-old suspect at least seven times during the botched robbery.
Johnny Nguyen

Video footage also caught Craig Cope, owner of the Norco Market & Liquor in Norco, Calif., firing at the armed robber, who ran out of the store screaming and escaping in a vehicle with other suspects.   

Nguyen, who turns 23 on Saturday, said he is thankful that he survived the ordeal. He said the incident left him “shook” and he plans to look into arming himself with other weapons for protection.

“Small business owners like us, this is our livelihood,” Nguyen told The Post. “Not only are they threatening our lives, but our livelihood, so we have to stay vigilant.”