Convenience store worker in hospital after robbery attempt


XENIA — A man is in jail and another in the hospital after an attempted robbery at the Maharaja Food Mart on West Second Street Sunday.

Charlsteven Cliff Jones, 31, was arrested and charged with felonious assault and aggravated robbery after he allegedly stole lottery tickets and then ran over cashier Venugopal “Paul” Malyala as he fled the scene.

According to store manager Akshay Kumar, Malyala had waited on the suspect when he allegedly ran off without paying for $150 worth of scratch-off lottery tickets. In an attempt to exit the parking lot, Jones allegedly ran over Malyala after the clerk attempted to reach into the vehicle to retrieve the stolen tickets.

Witnesses told Xenia police that Malyala was thrown back from the vehicle’s driver side window (when the vehicle was put into gear), and then run over. Xenia Police Division responded to the scene after receiving a call about a “pedestrian strike.”

Several witnesses described the suspect as a black male who was dressed as a woman. A witness at the scene was able to get the make/model/plate of the vehicle which was seen pulling into Bridges of Hope on West Second Street, where it was identified as the suspect’s vehicle.

The suspect, who was found and detained by XPD, was wearing clothing matching the description given by five witnesses, according to the police report. Police said Jones is also a suspect in a lottery ticket theft at a Xenia Speedway, which happened shortly before the Maharaja Food Mart incident.

According to the police report, Jones told officers he did “not recall” running over Malyala. He is currently in the Greene County Jail awaiting a court date.

Malaya’s condition was unknown but the police report indicated multiple injuries and visible tire tracks on his chest, face, and head.

“We’ve been here around eight years and have not had anything like this happen,” said Kumar, who added that he is familiar with his customer base and does not recall ever seeing the alleged assailant. He and store owner, Baljit Singh, said they consider Malyala “one of the family” and are very concerned about his condition.

Reach Karen Rase at 937-502-4534.

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