Crime Stoppers: Robbers use pepper spray at phone store

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Handguns are the weapons of choice for most robbers, but sometimes a stick-up can become a spray-down.

Before noon on a recent Monday, two young men go shopping for cell phones at a Metro PCS on South Tryon.

"These guys look late 20s, maybe early 30s - if that," said CMPD Detective Tori Roddey.

After having a look around the store, they begin talking to the salesman.

"They went to the counter finally and asked for five iPhones."

Asking for five iPhones clearly made the clerk a bit suspicious.

"I think so because once he asked for five, he said, 'no, I'll bring out two for you to look out, but I'm not bringing out five iPhones,'" the detective explained.

And then, it happened. The clerk looked away for a brief second. When he looked back, the man wearing a camouflage shirt covers his own mouth and pepper sprays the clerk in his face.

"I don't think he gets a full hit right at the first contact, but the guy who sprayed him was able to reach around and grab that first iPhone."

Now confusion reigns. The camouflaged man grabs the iPhone and runs. The other iPhone falls on the floor and the clerk is determined to get it. But the other crook wants it too.

Fists are thrown and the crook grabs the phone and races out with the clerk on his heels. The clerk gave chase all the way outside to the parking lot.

"These guys probably had been at this location before and planned this out a while back, but obviously they didn't have any covering (disguises) about their faces, so I don't think they're local."

They were seen getting away in what appears to be a gray Nissan or Mazda.

They may not be locals, but if you've seen these two, call Crime Stoppers at 704-334-1600. You might earn enough to buy your own iPhone.

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