Apple Valley Man Arrested in Pepper-Spray Attacks at Stores, Restauraunts

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A 48-year-old Apple Valley man was arrested after allegedly spraying pepper spray at a Walmart, two fast-food restaurants and a mattress store, authorities said Tuesday.


A canister of pepper spray. (Credit: Lauri Rantala/flickr via Creative Commons)

Deputies took Richard Pelletier into custody at his home and he was booked into High Desert Detention Center on suspicion of felony vandalism, according to a news release from the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department.

The arrest followed four successive calls to authorities beginning at about 6 p.m. Monday, when deputies and firefighters were called to a Wal-Mart on Highway 18 in Apple Valley for a report of a strong chemical smell coming from a bathroom.

Authorities found the smell to be pepper spray that had been “deployed” in a restroom.

Soon after that, employees of a McDonald’s and Jack in the Box called to report similar incidents in bathrooms at the two fast-food restaurants, which both had to shut down operations to clean up. One Jack in the Box employee reported feeling ill, the news release stated.

Then an employee at a mattress store said an $1,100 mattress had been sprayed with pepper spray, according to the release.

It was not clear how investigators connected Pelletier to the crimes. He was arrested without incident. No booking photo was made available.

Pelletier was being held on $25,000 bail and was due in court Thursday, online county inmate records show.

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