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BEACH

Pepper Spray Used in Another Robbery

April 24, 1998|VALERIE BURGHER

A woman's home was robbed Thursday morning after a man doused her in the face with pepper spray and forced his way through the front door, police said.

The attack is the second recent invasion-style robbery locally involving pepper spray, and investigators believe they may be connected, said Huntington Beach Police Lt. Luis Ochoa.

In Thursday's robbery, the 39-year-old victim, who asked to remain unidentified, suffered only minimal injuries from the pepper spray.

Police said the robber knocked on the woman's door on the 8600 block of Franciscan Circle just before 9 a.m. When she opened the door, the man sprayed her in the face and pushed his way into the house, brandishing a semiautomatic handgun, Ochoa said.

Once inside, the man demanded the woman's jewelry and wallet, then forced her into a bathroom where she was told to stay until he left. The suspect apparently fled the property on foot.

Last month's robbery included many of the same elements, Ochoa said. On March 30, a man entered an apartment manager's office in the 8400 block of Atlanta Avenue, carrying pepper spray and a black briefcase containing a handgun. He told the manager to take money out of an office safe and to hand over her jewelry and wallet. After she gave him the items, he sprayed her and fled on foot.

A similar incident occurred in Mission Viejo two weeks ago, said Lt. Tom Garner of the Orange County Sheriff's Department.

But Garner added there was "no indication that they were related." He said the Sheriff's Department is continuing its investigation.

The Huntington Beach suspect is described as being 5 feet, 6 inches tall, white, in his mid- to late 20s and about 170 pounds with short dark hair. He was last seen wearing sunglasses and a blue shirt. Anyone with information should call Huntington Beach Police Department at (714) 375-5066.

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