Employees at a Port Charlotte liquor store were pepper-sprayed in an attempt to rob the store. This happened along Murdock Circle in Port Charlotte around 5 p.m. on Monday evening.
According to Charlotte County Fire and EMS, several people were pepper-sprayed, and two of them ended up going to the hospital. One of those people told first responders their eyes were burning and that they couldn’t breathe. The other person was shoved during this incident.
Rebekah Andrews lives in Port Charlotte. “I hope they are going to be OK. They just come in to do an honest living and then get hurt once again that’s just devastatingly sad,” said Andrews.
The family member of one of the employees that was maced told WINK News that three women entered the store and tried to leave with a shopping cart full of liquor. The cashier noticed what was going on.
Store employees say that one of the three women pretended she couldn’t pay for the items and went to the car to get another credit card. The victim told his family member he was standing by the door, waiting for the woman to return, when the pepper spray went off just two inches away from his face.
Luckily, the women did not get away with any alcohol.
Justin Box lives in North Port. “That’s crazy. I mean people need to be on the lookout for sure and ready to protect yourself. That’s absolutely crazy,” said Box.
Andrews says this situation is sad. “I’m sorry people have to resort to that,” said Andrews.
These liquor store employees were made aware of a similar theft at a Sam’s Club store in Fort Myers a few weeks ago. There, four women were accused of stealing more than $4,000 worth of alcohol. It is a protocol for other stores to be notified or be on the lookout after a nearby store theft.
However, it is unclear if these incidents are connected. The Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office told WINK News that these same suspects were involved in other thefts that occurred in Sarasota earlier in the day.
Robert Vinyard lives in North Port. “I hope they catch them. I hope that people if they do know something about it they let the authorities know as soon as possible so we can kind of put an end to this so people don’t have to be on that kind of alert especially during the holidays,” Vinyard said.
A spokesperson for Sam’s Club sent a statement in regards to the attempted robbery:
“We’re deeply disturbed by the recent incident. Member and associate safety is our top priority. We will continue to work closely with law enforcement during their investigations and hope the suspects will be apprehended swiftly and brought to justice.”