Robbers Pepper Sprayed An Entire Shopping Mall In Calgary & It Had To Be Evacuated
The suspects got away for now.
Weekend shoppers got more than they bargained for when their Calgary mall got pepper-sprayed during a robbery attempt. The entire building had to be evacuated after a thick, smoke-like haze spread through the ventilation. The robbers made off with several pieces of jewelry and police are still on the hunt.
In a release, Calgary Police said they got called to around 1:30 p.m. on Saturday afternoon, August 1. Two masked men had entered Paris Jewelers where they "deployed tear gas and displayed a significant amount of violence."
Inside the store, police say they used pepper spray and threatened staff. They then fled the scene in a "brown/gold SUV" with stolen jewelry.
Meanwhile, their pepper spray managed to seep into the mall's ventilation system, spreading chemicals throughout the building, reported CBC News. One shopper had to be taken to the hospital in non-life-threatening condition.
Even the fire department was called, who at first thought there was a fire due to the thick haze in the air, according to CTV News. When they realized it was actually a chemical substance, the entire mall had to be evacuated.
Twenty patients were assessed by EMS at the scene. Other than the one hospitalization, no one else was hurt.
The mall was still closed four hours later at 5:30 p.m., according to the Calgary Herald. EMS and firefighters had chipped in to help the decontamination process, but it could be hours until all the tear gas is cleared up, reported CTV News.
A witness at the scene alleged that the robbers didn't just use tear gas — they deployedtoo. Daniel Hurstfield told CBC he was walking when a "canister hit the ground about 10 metres in front of him." Black smoke began to billow out from it.
"I wasin the mall anyway, but it didn't affect my eyes, it didn't affect my breathing, it was just a very charcoal-y smell," he told the outlet.
Police are still hunting forand they need your help. If you have video or photos of the incident or information about the suspects, call Calgary Police's non-emergency line at 403-266-1234.
You can also report anonymously to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.