LAKEWOOD — A township restaurant owner was stabbed in the back by a homeless woman in a seemingly random attack on Tuesday morning.

Police charged Erika Cruz, 38, with weapons violations and aggravated assault against Menachem Cohen, the 36-year-old co-owner of the Out to Lunch restaurant in the shopping plaza where the violence unfolded.

Surveillance video obtained exclusively by The Lakewood Scoop shows Cohen chasing the woman after he was stabbed in the parking lot on Cedar Bridge and Ashley avenues just before 10 a.m.

Cohen was returning to his SUV with a box of pastries from the back of the store when a woman ran past him while plunging a 12-inch knife into this back, according to the video.

Cohen is seen pulling the knife out of his back and backing away from the woman, who tries to punch him.

Cruz was later arrested and taken to the Ocean County jail.

Police spokesman Capt. Gregory Staffordsmith said the reason for the attack was unclear but police do not believe Cruz is affiliated with any organized hate or terrorist group.

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Erika Cruz
Erika Cruz (Ocean County Jail)

Cohen told The Scoop that he felt a poke in his back, reached around and found a knife. He told the Scoop he yelled to a secretary inside to call the police as he chased the woman, tackled her to the ground and held her until police arrived.

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