Barkley Haggen employee hit with bear spray while trying to stop sticky-fingered teens


BELLINGHAM - Police say a Bellingham teen sprayed a loss prevention employee with bear spray after the man tried to stop him from stealing candy and pastries from the Barkley Haggen on Friday night, Jan. 17.

The 17-year-old, who was not identified because he is a minor, and Payton T. Mulryan, 18, walked out of the grocery store with cinnamon rolls and Butterfinger candy bars without paying around 11 p.m. Friday, Bellingham Police Sgt. Ken Brown said.

The younger teen apparently took the goods from Mulryan as they walked out the door. When a loss prevention employee tried to stop them, the 17-year-old took out a can of bear spray - a highly concentrated pepper spray - and sprayed the employee with it before running from the store, Brown said.

The employee was given first aid at the scene and was not taken to the hospital, Brown said.

A few minutes after the younger teen took off, a responding deputy saw him a few blocks away. The teen ran through some nearby woods before police arrested him in the 3300 block of Woburn St., Brown said. He had a can of bear spray, Butterfingers and cinnamon rolls with him when arrested, Brown said.

The teen was booked into juvenile detention for first-degree robbery and a juvenile court warrant for third-degree theft; Mulryan, a transient, was issued an arrest citation for shoplifting and released, Brown said.

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