NORWALK >> A trio of women pepper sprayed a Norwalk shoe store employee while stealing footwear on Sunday afternoon, official said.
The crime took place shortly before 5 p.m. at Warehouse Shoe Sale, 11820 Firestone Blvd., Los Angeles County sheriff’s Sgt. Jason Cunningham said.
Three women placed shoes in their purses and went to leave the store without paying for them, the sergeant said.
A store employee confronted the woman at the door and asked to look inside their purses, he said.
One of the women pulled out a canister of pepper spray and sprayed the employee with it, according to Cunningham.
The three women then fled in a gray Toyota Camry, according to sheriff’s radio traffic.
Officials declined to release a detailed suspect description as they continued pursuing leads late Sunday, Cunningham said.
Sunday’s robbery was just the latest in series of recent robberies in which pepper spray or other devices intended for self-defense have been used as weapons.
•A woman was pepper sprayed and robbed of her wallet outside an Arcadia business on March 17.
•A group of teen girls are accused of spraying a man with pepper spray in order to rob him of his iPhone in Covina on May 7.
•Two women pepper sprayed a security guard while stealing purses from a Monrovia store on June 23.
•Three women used a stun gun on security guards who confronted them for stealing at two stores in Temple City and Arcadia on July 13.
Pepper spray, as well as stun guns, can be purchased legally by adults who are not otherwise prohibited from possessing weapons due to prior criminal convictions. They are legal to possess for lawful self-defense purposes, but it’s a crime under California law, punishable as a felony, to misuse such devices.
Anyone with information can reach the sheriff’s Norwalk Station at 562-863-8711. Tips may also be submitted anonymously online to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.