Police: Theft suspect maced Hempfield Target employee
A sharp-eyed loss prevention officer at the Hempfield Target store ended up with Mace in his face after confronting a shoplifter Friday night, state police said.
Police are hoping the public might be able to help identify the robber from surveillance pictures and video released Tuesday.
The black female entered the Target along Route 30 carrying a store-supplied plastic hand cart and a large handbag, Trooper Stephen Limani said.
The woman headed for the store's electronics department and began putting large quantities of DVDs in the basket.
Limani said DVDs are among the items stolen most often from stores for their resale value. The loss prevention officer, who was monitoring store surveillance video, focused his attention on the woman as she put video after video in her basket while barely looking at the titles.
"He was alerted by that and very rightly so followed her around the store with the camera," Limani said.
The woman then headed to the store's lingerie department, where surveillance video shows her putting the DVDs into her handbag and then leaving the store basket behind.
As she headed for the door, the loss prevention officer confronted her and attempted to get her to come with him to question her.
The woman dropped the bag, which contained 33 DVDs, and then sprayed the employee with a Mace canister attached to her keychain.
The woman left the store and is believed to have driven away in a two-door silver Toyota Scion.
Limani said the woman escalated what would have likely been a misdemeanor retail theft case to a robbery with her use of force.
Anyone with information about the identity of the suspect is asked to call state police at 724-832-3288.