Times Colonist

Three hit by pepper spray at mall

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Three people were hit with pepper spray at the Nanaimo North Town Centre mall Tuesday in what police believe was a robbery attempt.

Police said a man jumped over the desk at the mall’s lottery booth just before 10 a.m. and sprayed the clerk in the face for between five and 20 seconds.

He pushed the 45-year-old woman to the ground, then jumped back over the desk and ran away.

A maintenanc­e worker at the mall gave chase but was also hit with pepper spray. The worker lost his vision and had to give up the chase. Another mall patron was also hit with the spray.

Police say although they believe the motive of the attack was to rob the lottery stand, it is unclear if the attacker attempted to steal anything.

Police described the assailant as white, in his mid-twenties, wearing a dark grey hooded sweatshirt, big black sunglasses and dark pants.

He had either a balaclava, bandana or his sweatshirt zipped up around his mouth.

“It’s so brazen to do this in a mall when it’s busy,” said Nanaimo RCMP spokesman Gary O’brien.

“We see pepper spray sometimes used in robberies, but it’s rare to see it in these daylight incidents.”

Anyone with informatio­n is asked to telephone Nanaimo RCMP at 250-754-2345.

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