Crime

She tried to stop a drunken booze thief. She got maced in both eyes and had a heart attack, documents say

Sober thoughts became drunken actions for a Pierce County teenager last month.

Those drunken actions ended up causing a good Samaritan to have a heart attack, Pierce County prosecutors say.

Four days after making a Facebook post about spraying a person with “bear mace,” the 19-year-old Midland woman pepper sprayed a woman who was outside her car at a Lakewood grocery store last month. The 19-year-old had been caught by shoppers after trying to steal alcohol from the store, according to charging documents.

The pepper-sprayed woman ended up being hospitalized with a heart attack in the wake of the assault.

The teenager was arraigned Friday afternoon in Pierce County Superior Court on charges of second-degree assault, third-degree theft, attempted third-degree theft and making a false statement to police. Her bail was set at $20,000.

According to charging documents:

Witnesses saw several people running from a grocery store in the 8600 block of Steilacoom Boulevard Southwest about 6:20 p.m. Jan. 11, each carrying a basket full of stolen items. The witnesses confronted the thieves in the parking lot, and one backed their car behind the getaway vehicle, preventing them from leaving.

The witnesses called police, then started to gather around the car. The car’s occupants began to argue with the witnesses.

The woman in the passenger seat rolled down her window, shot mace in a woman’s left eye, then into her right.

The victim’s eyes began to burn, and she lost her ability to see. Paramedics took her to an area hospital, where doctors discovered she had suffered a heart attack in the wake of the assault. She was hospitalized for several days and was found to have suffered permanent damage to her heart.

The witnesses took pictures of the car with their phones, and the occupants of the car started throwing alcohol bottles at the witnesses. The grocery store manager told the witnesses to let the car leave.

Detectives later went through surveillance footage and found the car was registered in the assailant’s name, and that she and her companions stole alcohol and Tide Pods laundry detergent from the store.

The occupants of the car were also found to have stolen from a department store at Lakewood Towne Center earlier that evening, taking hundreds of dollars’ worth of items.

Lakewood police went to the woman’s home Thursday to arrest her, but she initially told them she was her sister.

She said she drank so much alcohol before the incident that she didn’t remember how much she had or what happened. She said they’d come to the store to steal more alcohol.

“She maintained that she should not be responsible for her actions because she was drunk,” prosecutors wrote. “However, she continued to deny using the mace.”

A detective went through the woman’s Facebook profile and found a post from four days before the assault in which she discussed spraying a person with “bear mace.”

Kenny Ocker: 253-597-8627, @KennyOcker

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