December 5, 2021

Ofc. Kent Keller, PIO
Greeley Police Department
(970) 373-7755
[email protected]

Shoplifter who used bear spray in Walmart, causing evacuation, arrested

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. Due to customers fleeing from the spray, 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 or possibly an active shooter situation.

Greeley Police officers quickly arrived on scene and determined there was no active shooter or guns involved in the incident. The investigation showed that store associates attempted to detain Vince Joe Pacheco, 29, for shoplifting. At that point a struggle ensued and Pacheco deployed the bear spray at three employees. A fourth employee, a 70-year-old male, then attempted to help subdue Pacheco. The 70-year-old employee was struck in the head by the bear spray, causing the can to rupture and contaminate the store.

Prior to police arrival, Pacheco fled the store in a vehicle and went to a nearby store to wash his face due to the bear spray exposure. Greeley Fire and EMS treated the employees, as well as multiple customers who inhaled some of the spray, on scene before releasing them. They also remained on scene to help clear out and decontaminate the store. Walmart was closed to the public for a few hours while this was happening.

Greeley patrol officers located the vehicle Pacheco was driving when he fled Walmart at a trailer in the 100 block of East 20th Street. Officers established a perimeter after determining Pacheco was inside. Officers called into the residence and convinced Pacheco to surrender. Pacheco was taken into custody without incident at approximately 9:20 p.m. and transported to a local hospital to be medically evaluated before being transported to the Weld County Jail.

Pacheco will be charged with the following:
• 3rd Degree Assault on At-Risk Elder (Felony – x1)
• Aggravated Robbery (Felony – x1)
• 3rd Degree Assault (Misdemeanor – x3)
• Theft (Misdemeanor – x1)

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.