Police say the suspect walked into a Subway restaurant on Monday and used a can of the sticky stuff to hold up the cashier.
It all began at a Food Lion grocery store.
Lisa Autry, store manager at Food Lion, said the suspect walked in, and started talking to one of the store clerks.
"He asked her if we sold pepper spray," Autry said.
The suspect told the clerk he wanted protection.
"He explained that he'd had a break-in at his apartment, and his girlfriend was worried so he wanted something for his girlfriend to carry around," Autry said. "She told him that hairspray worked just as well, but we didn't sell pepper spray."
The clerk never saw the man again.
But nine minutes later, in the same shopping center, the man behind the counter of Subway felt the painful sting in his eyes as the suspect sprayed the employee in the face.
While the suspect grabbed cash, the victim ran to Food Lion for help.
"The clerk came in and told us that the Subway had been robbed and asked me to call the police," Autry said.
His story sounded familiar to the cashier.
"She said, 'Well, that's funny because I had a guy come in here and ask if we sold pepper spray,'" Autry said.
The picture came into focus as police found a man caught on tape near the cosmetics aisle. Police believe the suspect was looking for his weapon.
The clerk is okay, but police are still looking for the suspect. Anyone with any information is asked to call the Cary Police Department at(919) 469-4021.
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