A police chase led to the arrests of three people accused of shoplifting merchandise from a Fayette County Victoria’s Secret and pepper-spraying an employee on their way out.
Officers responded to the Avenue Peachtree City about 4:30 p.m. Thursday after receiving a call about four suspicious people hanging out in front of the store, Peachtree City police spokesman Lt. Chris Hyatt said. Before they arrived, however, officers received a second call from a woman who said her employee had been pepper-sprayed by one of two shoplifters who came inside.
“While speaking with witnesses on scene, it was determined that the individuals had stolen a large quantity of merchandise from the establishment and assaulted the employee as they were attempting to leave,” police said in a news release.
Several shoppers provided officers with a description of the getaway vehicle and its tag number, and that information was shared with neighboring agencies.
A short time later, Coweta County deputies spotted the vehicle near Newnan and attempted to stop it, prompting a brief chase. The four suspects inside the car abandoned the vehicle near White Oak Golf Club and ran, authorities said.
Three of them were caught by deputies and turned over to Peachtree City police, but the man driving the car managed to escape.
The man accused of pepper-spraying the Victoria’s Secret employee was identified as 32-year-old Eugene Martin. He is charged with armed robbery and aggravated battery, police said. The other two people arrested were 23-year-old Timmy Chambers and 32-year-old Ashley Anderson. Both are charged with being party to a crime of armed robbery, records show. All of the suspects are from Albany.
“They took a basic shoplifting charge and turned it into an armed robbery just by pepper-spraying an employee for no reason,” Hyatt said, adding that the store’s corporate policy prevents employees from physically confronting shoplifting suspects.
“She was like 20 feet from them,” he said. “He sprays her right in the face and then they both bolt out the door. She wasn’t even blocking their way.”
Police are still looking to identify the getaway driver. Anyone with information on the case is asked to call investigators at 770-487-8866.