An Albion Park shop owner is lucky to be alive after he was repeatedly bashed over the head as he left work on Sunday night.
Peter Kranitis was closing the back door of his family-run restaurant, Delicious Delights, when he was attacked by a masked man wielding a metal rod about 7.45pm.
The man demanded Mr Kranitis hand over cash but the shop owner refused.
The 63-year-old was then struck across the head up to 20 times, before the balaclava-clad attacker fled, leaving a bloody and bruised Mr Kranitis to call for help.
Mr Kranitis was able to alert police and call his wife, Mary. A number of people also rushed to his aid.
“That’s why the guy left. When my dad started screaming for help he ran off, because there were people around,” Mr Kranitis’ son George told the Mercury.
The attack happened just metres from the drive-through of the KFC next door. The business’ back door is also in line of sight from the nearby Albion Park Shopping Village car park.
“It just shows the desperation of this man and the cowardice,” George said.
Mr Kranitis suffered deep lacerations to his head. He was taken to Wollongong Hospital, but released on Monday morning and is now recovering at home.
In a post to the Delicious Delights’ Facebook page, Mr Kranitis said: “I've got a tough skull, it'll take more than 15-20 hits to the head to put me down”.
George said his dad was “doing really well”, considering the circumstances.
“He’s got his wits about him, he’s just absolutely exhausted,” he said.
“He’s got bumps, he’s got bruises, he’s got lacerations. It’s all been stitched up … nothing’s broken [and there’s] no permanent, long-term damage.
“He will make a full recovery, and that’s what’s really important, and that’s what we’re so grateful for.”
Delicious Delights is closed on Monday. However, despite his ordeal, Mr Kranitis was eager to get back to work.
“I think he’s trying to get back to work tomorrow, which is crazy,” George said, adding his dad’s only day off was usually Christmas Day.
The Kranitis family have owned the Tongarra Road business for about four years.
“The family has never experienced any kind of traumatic experience, any kind of incident like this. We’re very shocked,” George said.
“We didn’t think that anything like this was capable [of happening] in Albion Park.
“Unfortunately, there are people out there and even in a small town like Albion Park something as gruesome as this can happen.”
An employee at a neighbouring business expressed his shock and disgust at the attack, saying Mr Kranitis and his family were wonderful people.
The attacker was last seen fleeing towards to shopping centre car park and police have released a description of the man as part of their investigation.
He is described as being about 183cm tall, with a medium build and was wearing dark coloured clothing at the time of the incident.
Anyone with information should call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.