Police: DE woman pepper sprayed Payless employee during attempted robbery

Delaware State Police have arrested and charged a woman for allegedly temporarily blinding a Payless Shoe Store employee with pepper spray during an attempted robbery Saturday evening.

Investigators said Candace Mills-Brown, 54, of Delaware City, entered the Payless in New Castle’s Crossroad Shopping Center shortly before 6 p.m. and confronted the 42-year-old woman working behind the counter.

Brown allegedly grabbed the clerk by the hair and pulled her head downward while demanding money. She then pulled out a canister of pepper spray and let loose on the woman, temporarily blinding and incapacitating her, police said. According to authorities, she unsuccessfully tried to open the cash register before fleeing empty-handed.

The victim ran from the store and yelled for assistance, catching the attention of a loss prevention officer from a neighboring business. He told police that he saw Brown running away and commanded her to stop, but she hopped in a silver 2005 Saturn Vue with Delaware tags and sped away from the parking lot. The Payless employee was treated at the scene by paramedics and declined further medical attention.

The loss prevention officer wrote down the fleeing suspect’s license plate number and turned it over to state troopers, who traced the tags back to Brown’s Delaware City residence, according to police. They said that after contacting Brown at her home, they were able to connect her to the alleged crime and took her into custody without incident.

The woman is charged with attempted robbery and assault and is jailed at the Baylor’s Women’s Correction Center on a $33,000 secured bond.

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