A loss prevention employee at the Bellingham Safeway was sprayed in the eyes with Sriracha sauce and threatened he would be “cut” on Valentine’s Day while attempting to stop a pair of alleged shoplifters leaving with two baskets full of stolen items.
Bellingham Police booked Caleb D. McLean, 42, into Whatcom County Jail Sunday, Feb. 14, on suspicion of first-degree robbery and third-degree theft.
Lisa Morrison was cited on suspicion of third-degree theft and released at the scene, Lieutenant Claudia Murphy told The Bellingham Herald in an email.
Officers were called at 9:11 PM Sunday to the Safeway on East Sunset Drive for the report of a robbery, Murphy reported.
Once on scene, officers learned that McLean and Morrison had entered the store and filled two shopping baskets with merchandise worth $216.32 and left the store without attempting to pay, according to Murphy.
The victim attempted to stop McLean and Morrison, identified himself as a loss prevention employee and told them to drop the unpurchased items, Murphy reported.
It was then that McLean picked up a bottle of stolen Sriracha sauce and sprayed the victim in the face and chest, causing the victim obvious pain in his eyes, according to Murphy.
McLean further threatened the victim, saying he would “cut” the victim if he came toward McLean, Murphy reported.
McLean and Morrison kept the stolen merchandise, got into a car and left, Murphy wrote.
Nearby officers located the car and initiated a high-risk traffic stop, due to the knife McLean had threatened the victim with, according to Murphy. A box knife was found as police searched McLean while taking him into custody, as was the Sriracha sauce and the rest of the stolen items still in the shopping baskets… Bellingham Herald