MANDEVILLE -- Debbie Culotta could not believe that inside the Victoria's Secret store, five women allegedly grabbed more than 15 hundred dollars worth of clothing and merchandise.
"I just came out of there and had no idea that it happened," Covington resident Debbie Culotta said. "I'm surprised. I'm shocked."
"I hope these people, they get caught," Mandeville resident Christopher Goins said.
The incident occurred just before 7 p.m. at the Premier Shopping Center in Mandeville.
Police said that two store employees were sprayed with mace and one employee was shocked with the stun gun before the thieves escaped with about $1,500 in merchandise from the store.
Police said the women left in a silver Honda sedan with a temporary license plate.
"This was a lot over the top," said Mandeville Police Chief Gerald Stricker. "This is over and above your average shoplifting. They armed themselves. It fits an armed robbery and when we catch these individuals, that's what they'll be charged with."
Customers said they were coughing from the mace. Kacie Morris spoke with Eyewitness News over the phone Wednesday.
"They were grabbing everything! 'I want this shirt. I want that shirt. Gimme that one.' The police pulled up and we were like coughing. Our faces were burning. Some people said their eyes was burning," Morris said.
Police said the suspects were all African-American females who appeared to be in their 20s. Three were said to be light-skinned, two were dark-skinned and all were between 5'5" and 5' 10." One of the suspects had red hair. One had a pony tail, another had a thick braid and the shortest one was wearing a baseball cap.
Chief Sticker says he suspects Tuesday's robbery could be part of a bigger scheme.
"Generally what we see in these types of investigations is they'll steal from one retailer and they'll go to another jurisdiction, to another Victoria's Secret and return that merchandise either for a store credit if they can't get the cash back," Chief Sticker said.
Those shopping nearby say the altercation is just another reason why both retailers and shoppers should stay vigilant, especially when the holiday season rolls around.
Anyone with information about this robbery is asked to call the Mandeville Police department at (985) 626-9711.
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