**FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE #21G094847***

December 5, 2021

Ofc. Kent Keller, PIO
Greeley Police Department
(970) 373-7755
Kent.Keller@greeleypd.com

Shoplifter deploys bear spray in Walmart, resulting in evacuation

On Sunday, December 5, 2021 at 1:35 p.m., Greeley Police officers were dispatched to the Walmart, located at 920 47th Avenue, reference a male who had sprayed associates with bear spray. While en route, the Weld County Regional Dispatch Center began receiving multiple calls reporting that there was both bear spray deployed and also a man with a gun in the store.

Due to the possibility of a person with a gun, Greeley Fire and EMS were staged nearby. Officers arrived on scene and quickly determined there had been bear spray deployed, but there was never a man with a gun. Greeley Fire and EMS treated at least five people on scene for bear spray exposure.

The investigation thus far shows that store associates attempted to detain a male shoplifter, at which point it is believed the shoplifter assaulted, and then deployed the bear spray at, the associates to escape. The suspect then got into a vehicle and fled the scene prior to officer’s arrival.

Walmart was evacuated as a safety precaution and is currently closed to the public as of this release. Greeley Fire is still on scene assisting with the removal of the residual spray from the store. We do not believe there is an on-going threat to the community at this time. We will update the community when Walmart reopens.

If you have any information on this case or witnessed it, and have not been interviewed by officers, please contact the Greeley Police Department front desk at 970-350-9605.

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