The suspect, Russell C. Alves, 45, of Providence, was eventually apprehended by police in the parking lot in the Saturday night incident and was ordered held in jail on $7,500 cash bail after arraignment Monday in Attleboro District Court.
The 25-year-old bystander, who ran after the suspect with a store clerk, was not injured in the 8:30 p.m. incident, police said.
Police recovered more than $1,000 in clothing from the Victoria’s Secret and American Eagle stores and arrested an alleged accomplice, Florence E. Pompey, 26, of Providence. Pompey is accused of helping steal from clothing stores and driving the getaway car, police said.
The pair allegedly used “booster bags,” shopping bags designed to foil security systems, to steal the clothing until a store clerk at Victoria’s Secret discovered them and chased Alves out of the mall, police said. A bystander saw the chase and heard the clerk yell for the man to stop and decided to help. Alves stopped to confront the man outside the mall, authorities said.
“As he was fleeing the mall, he was chased by a private citizen,” Assistant District Attorney Mark Donovan said during a bail hearing. “He actually sprayed this person with chemical Mace and took a swing at him.”
After the alleged spraying, the alleged shoplifter ran and threw a bag filled with stolen merchandise into a car allegedly driven by Pompey and continued running, police said.
Alves, who authorities say has served jail time in Rhode Island for being a habitual shoplifter, was apprehended by Patrolman Gary Maitland. Pompey was stopped and arrested after an investigation by Maitland, Patrolman Josh McMahon and Sgt. Bart Folan.
Alves pleaded innocent to a dozen charges, including larceny, using Mace in the commission of a crime, assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon: Mace, unlawful possession of Mace, larceny and receiving stolen property.
He is also wanted on a warrant from Hingham District Court on an unrelated probation matter and is facing a pending larceny case in Taunton District Court, Donovan said. Pompey, who is free on $1,000 cash bail, pleaded innocent to five charges, including larceny, receiving stolen property and conspiracy.
Both were ordered to stay away from Emerald Square mall and are due back in Attleboro District Court for a pretrial hearing Dec. 16