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An El Cajon tattoo artist who’d fallen asleep in his unlocked shop was pistol-whipped and suffered “moderate” injuries when he awoke to discover a burglary in progress and attempted to confront two thieves.

James Coyle, an employee of Classic Tattoo on the 1000 block of Broadway in El Cajon, was awakened by noise in his shop and found two men attempting to remove his motorcycle, which was parked inside the shop. Both suspects attacked Coyle when he attempted to intervene and he was robbed of cash and merchandise inside the store, though the motorcycle was not taken.

Fleeing, Coyle flagged down a motorist, who promptly called police. El Cajon Police, along with San Diego Sheriff’s K9 units responded, but a search of the area using police dogs and a helicopter failed to locate either of the suspects.

Evidence was collected by the police department’s crime lab from the scene, and an investigation is ongoing.

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