CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Shoplifting is a minor crime. But it becomes major when you use a weapon to aid your getaway.
CMPD is looking for two women who pepper sprayed a manager when she followed them out to the parking lot.
This happened on a Sunday afternoon at the Family Dollar on North Tryon.
"2:00 o'clock in the afternoon," said CMPD Detective Marty Cuthbertson, "with a parking lot full of people."
Inside, the manager was busy ringing up customers.
Two women appeared on the video. One was wearing a long red dress. The other had on a purple top and was wearing a hat. There are two young children with them.
Police believe when the clerks weren't watching, they were suspiciously taking items and stuffing them in purses. But, as it turns out, someone was watching. And when the two women and two kids left the store, the manager decided to follow.
"She was just trying to get a picture of the tag and when she did so they pepper sprayed her in the face where she couldn't get anything."
Yes, pepper sprayed. In the face. On the surveillance, you could see her stumble back to the front door, and then, walk past the register, rubbing her burns.
Detective Cuthbertson's brother, Lee, a veteran security guard at the mall, witnessed the spraying.
"She followed them out, was that a smart thing to do? No it wasn't." "Just let them go? Just let them go, sometimes you learn to take a loss."
And the loss, was minor.
What were they shoplifting? It was small items because the price of the items was like, $30 dollars."
30 bucks, all for a serious crime.
"Using pepper spray in the parking lot, that really ups the crime, doesn't it? It does." When you commit a theft and you use a weapon or some type to commit that crime, it becomes an armed robbery."
The manager is back to work and okay. The women were seen driving away in a green Toyota Sequoia.
If you know something that could help, call Crime Stoppers at 704-334-1600. Crime doesn't pay, but Crime Stoppers does.