It started as a brazen burglary. Just before 8 p.m. on July 31 cameras captured two suspected thieves wheeling a cart full of items out of City Mill on Waialae Avenue.
Police say as the men walked out to the parking lot a couple of employees followed.
"These people who are shoplifting right now are becoming more violent. Their goal is to get away," said Crimestoppers coordinator Kim Buffett.
Investigators say one of the men lunged at the employees with a machete he had taken from the store. Witnesses say it was still in the wrapper.
"The other suspect struck the employee in the back of the head. He's not sure what he was hit with," said Buffett.
Several co-workers saw what was happening. Surrounded and outnumbered police say the men dropped everything and ran.
"These stores do have loss prevention. Loss prevention agents are trained to stop these people and detain them outside. But getting in a physical confrontation is something we don't recommend," said Buffett.
If you have any information about this case call crime stoppers at 955-8300.