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4 injured by pepper spray at mall

Josh White

After allegedly shoplifting and then running from a Ballston Common Mall store Tuesday afternoon, a woman attacked the store’s manager with pepper spray and left four mall bystanders needing medical attention.

Arlington County police said the woman was seen stealing items from the Payless shoe store in the mall at about 12:25 p.m., setting off a chase within the mall located a block from the Ballston Metro station.

"The manager went to confront her and she sprayed pepper spray or mace or another caustic substance,” said Detective Crystal Nosal, a police spokeswoman. “Four other people were exposed to it at the same time.”

Arlington County firefighters responded and took the affected people to the hospital because of difficulties breathing. Nosal said all those affected were adults who had been shopping. Such sprays, even when making indirect contact with bystanders, can cause serious pain and can make it hard to see and breathe.

The mall remained open after the incident. Nosal said the alleged shoplifter got away.

-- Josh White

By Josh White  | October 5, 2010; 2:18 PM ET
Categories:  Arlington, Josh White  
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Comments

How about a description of the suspect or any survelliance video?

Posted by: BigDaddy651 | October 5, 2010 2:54 PM | Report abuse

All that trouble only to steal from Payless? Hope they catch the crook.

Posted by: futbolclif | October 5, 2010 3:23 PM | Report abuse

If someone is stupid enough to go down for retail theft you'd think they'd go for something bigger ticket than Payless Shoes...at least Foot Locker or something better.
I wonder if they stole running shoes? Those would at least help with the getaway.

Posted by: BigDaddy651 | October 5, 2010 3:46 PM | Report abuse

Ummm.....was she arrested or did she get away? Shoddy news reporting, as usual.

Posted by: Chazo | October 5, 2010 3:46 PM | Report abuse

The only reason why some of you wants the description of the suspect is you want to spit your racial comment right behind it. I mean why would you be so concerned with what this person looks like?

Posted by: PublicEnemy1 | October 5, 2010 3:52 PM | Report abuse

PublicEnemy1,
Why would you NOT want to know who did it? Oh yeah...afraid of the truth I suppose.

Posted by: BigDaddy651 | October 5, 2010 4:03 PM | Report abuse

Payless?

Really????????????

Posted by: bs2004 | October 5, 2010 4:13 PM | Report abuse

Ballston Common, the person could be of any race. as a paranoid schizo black person, since the description did not come up in the 1st reporting odds are high the person was not black or latino. They tend to catch that part in the 1st report no matter how bad the reporting.

dummies, u steal from Payless because you get your own shoes. it's not a quality thing its and opportunity thing.

Posted by: simplewords999 | October 5, 2010 4:31 PM | Report abuse

Yes, a description would allow us to be on the lookout for a dark-skinned woman who was between 20 and 35 years old. THAT should narrow it down. In fact, I see four of them in my office RIGHT NOW. Call the police! She's wearing new cheap shoes!

Posted by: KS100H | October 5, 2010 4:33 PM | Report abuse

I have to question anyone who would risk jail time by stealing $10 shoes. SMH!!!

Posted by: letsgetreal | October 5, 2010 5:48 PM | Report abuse

I hope security cameras help identify her so she'll be caught and charged with attempted theft AND assault & battery.

Posted by: DecafDrinker | October 5, 2010 5:50 PM | Report abuse

Ummm.....was she arrested or did she get away? Shoddy news reporting, as usual.

Posted by: Chazo
__________________________________________

ummm...more like shoddy reading...the article clearly states the shoplifter escaped.

Posted by: jcoates2 | October 5, 2010 6:22 PM | Report abuse

OBVIOUSLY, the thief was white or latino. Otherwise, the media would've specified that the perpetrator was "black", so everyone could start their hate rants.

Posted by: hoticetea | October 5, 2010 6:39 PM | Report abuse

A complete description of the suspect should have been included in the article. What if she does this again? I would like to know if the reporter was given a complete description of the suspect.

Posted by: bobbo2 | October 5, 2010 6:51 PM | Report abuse

upfront: im a white, generally politicall conservative male, but i understand why black people make issues out of being maligned because of their race and probably at least 99% of the time they're justified.

but here? come on. someone stole shoes and hurt five people. id spend more time wondering why, by choice or by accident, did the post omit the payless manager from the total of "4" people being injured in the store when the officer said four bystanders and the clerk were sprayed?

i understand and appreciate why black people would feel defensive here privately; i worked in retail and food service in bethesda during high school and college, and management clearly kept a closer eye on minority customers, when there was no proof they were more likely to do anything nefarious), but why take to the internet to turn this into a race issue when nothing about it was? there is nothing racist about someone asking for the description of the criminal or hoping she gets caught. besides, i now live in an area that has to be at least 97% white, and white people definitely steal things too. its about desperate people needing to steal things because they cant afford them (although there are many many exceptions, i am sure), and that cuts across all races.

Posted by: NomeMike | October 5, 2010 6:53 PM | Report abuse

Ummm.....was she arrested or did she get away? Shoddy news reporting, as usual.

Posted by: Chazo
__________________________________________

ummm...more like shoddy reading...the article clearly states the shoplifter escaped.

Poste by: jcoates2

__________________________________________

You're absolutely correct sir or ma'am. My apologies. I am surprised I did not catch that. Usually my reading comprehension skills are better. Lack of sleep perhaps?

Posted by: Chazo | October 5, 2010 11:22 PM | Report abuse

There should be a description of the suspect. A description would often have a racial component. A racial component in a description of a criminal suspect, missing person or witness is not "racist" as some claim.

Posted by: jnrentz@aol.com | October 6, 2010 9:06 AM | Report abuse

Ummm.....was she arrested or did she get away? Shoddy news reporting, as usual.

Posted by: Chazo
__________________________________________

ummm...more like shoddy reading...the article clearly states the shoplifter escaped.

Poste by: jcoates2

__________________________________________

You're absolutely correct sir or ma'am. My apologies. I am surprised I did not catch that. Usually my reading comprehension skills are better. Lack of sleep perhaps?
*******************************************************************************************************Hey Chazo, kudos to you for having the courage to acknowledge what you overlooked.

Posted by: jnrentz@aol.com | October 6, 2010 9:08 AM | Report abuse

A criminal is a criminal no matter what their race- it would be nice for the public to have a description of who the police are looking for. The public can often be of help in these matters- ever watch America's most wanted and see how may criminals are caught because or tips given by citizens? Criminals come in all races shapes and sizes. Get over this racial hatred cr@p and put the criminals behind bars where they belong!

Posted by: 10bestfan | October 6, 2010 10:26 AM | Report abuse

Attack of the Pepper Spray Bandit! If you're going to steal try a higher end store. I mean why go to jail for stealing crap?

Posted by: UnknownHenson | October 6, 2010 11:38 AM | Report abuse

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