A Miami store manager and dozens of shoppers were injured after being sprayed with bear repellent by a suspected candle thief, police say

bath and body works
A Bath and Body Works store.

  • A man injured at least 30 people by spraying bear mace during a suspected robbery, police said.
  • The incident occurred at Miami International Mall in a branch of Bath and Body Works.
  • Dozens were injured following the incident and one store manager was hospitalized.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

A suspect in Doral, Florida, escaped from Miami International Mall after spraying customers with bear repellent before stealing candles from a store, police said.

The incident occurred on July 17 at around 4 p.m EDT, according to authorities. Police said the suspect stole two bags of scented candles from homeware chain Bath and Body Works. They then sprayed the manager of the store directly in the face before fleeing, NBC 6 first reported.

At least 30 people were injured, which included 15 Bath and Body Works employees, customers and mall shoppers outside the store, Doral police spokesperson Rey Valdes told CNN.

The manager of the store was hospitalized following the incident, according to Valdes.

“We started coughing, actually, where we were and we weren’t even that close,” a mall shopper told NBC 6. “We felt it. We could smell it. We could breath it.”

Doral Police and Miami International Mall did not immediately reply to Insider’s request for comment.

Authorities said that each injured person could be considered a victim of aggravated battery, according to CNN.

Commenting on the incident, Valdes told the outlet: “This is one of those ‘only in Miami’ stories.”

The suspect was last seen exiting the mall in a yellow taxi, according to Valdes. He has not yet been identified by authorities.

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