Shoppers pepper-sprayed while subduing purse thief

December 5, 2011 - 1:30 PM

WALNUT CREEK, Calif. (AP) — Police say a thief snatched $10,000 worth of handbags from a California department store and pepper-sprayed holiday shoppers who tried to subdue him. In the end, the shoppers prevailed and the suspect was arrested.

Walnut Creek police say 42-year-old Bryan Black and a female accomplice snatched 17 high-end purses at a Nordstrom store Saturday night and ran for a getaway car.

Lt. Steve Gorski tells the San Francisco Chronicle (http://bit.ly/sFuRXK ) that the woman escaped with a couple purses.

But Black, an Oakland parolee armed with a knife, was grabbed by a shopper and tackled by another.

Investigators say Black showered the shoppers with pepper spray but they managed to hang on until police arrived.

Black is in jail, and the shoppers are OK.

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Information from: San Francisco Chronicle, http://www.sfgate.com