Police call latest robbery involving chemical spray part of crim - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Police call latest robbery involving chemical spray part of crime spree

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MADISON (WKOW) -- A Madison police spokesperson says an armed robbery Wednesday, involving a suspect with chemical spray, is being considered  part of a crime spree.

Authorities say there were two suspects in the armed robbery at the Topper's Pizza location in the 78-hundred block of Mineral Point Road, with victims describing one suspect as having bear spray. Authorities say no victim was sprayed.

"The spray was not used, but all of the victims were ordered into a freezer," Madison Police spokesperson Joel DeSpain tells 27 News. DeSpain says the victims, including a customer, were able to get out of the restaurant's freezer unharmed.

Officials say in two recent armed robberies, one at a restaurant and the other a bar, victims were sprayed with chemicals.

DeSpain says the three crimes are being treated as part of a "crime spree," and the cases are being given high priority.

"It's a strong possibility we have two people responsible for at least three armed robberies, and perhaps more," DeSpain tells 27 News.

DeSpain says detectives categorize these crimes as "take over robberies," with thieves taking over entire establishments, and pilfering from customers and employees, in addition to money drawers and safes.

DeSpain tells 27 News victim accounts have varied on the nature of the chemical spray in the robberies, with it even being described as a wasp, or insect spray. Bear spray is designed repel animals of several hundred pounds.

Authorities say surveillance video and victim observations in connection to suspects are largely consistent in the three crimes. DeSpain says the use of masks, and weapons, may account for some discrepancies on suspect race, and other aspects of victim statements.

Hours after the Topper's Pizza robbery, a felony warrant was issued for a woman who authorities say used pepper spray to harm a shopping mall employee during an escape after a theft. Court documents also state the woman is a suspect in another pepper spray attack at a mall. But Dane County deputy district attorney Michelle Viste says the arrest warrant is unrelated to the police investigation into the three, armed robberies involving chemical spray.

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