People pepper-sprayed during New Westminster theft

ON July 15 at approximately 6 p.m., New Westminster Police were dispatched to the area of 6th Street and 6th Avenue after a 9-1-1 call about a theft in progress.

The caller said that a man was inside a retail store attempting to steal a wig. When confronted by staff, the suspect pepper-sprayed them and ran from the store.

As the suspect fled the area, he continued to pepper-spray people in the area. Police rushed to the scene and arrested someone matching the suspect description.

Additional items of property that had been reported stolen earlier that evening were also found in possession of the suspect.

“We’d like to thank the quick thinking witnesses that saw this theft in progress and called 9-1-1,” said Sgt. Justine Thom. “Their quick action allowed officers to arrive within four minutes of the call. At that point, the suspect was still in the area and could be taken into custody.”

A 27-year-old Vancouver resident was arrested and later released on a number of conditions. His next court appearance is scheduled for September 14 at New Westminster Provincial Court.

Police said there was reason to believe there could be additional people who were pepper-sprayed and left the area before they arrived on scene. Police are asking these victims to reach out to police, to share what happened, and to access the services of the Victim Assistance Unit.

The New Westminster Police Department can be reached at 604-525-5411.

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