A 27-year-old male probably wishes he had been the one carrying pepper spray early Friday morning as he walked south on Mission Street near 16th Street.
At about 5:55 a.m. three men who looked like they were in their 30s approached the victim from the front. Two of the suspects put their hands in the man’s pockets, searching for money.
The victim resisted and the third suspect shot him in the face with pepper spray, a chemical that can cause tearing, pain and temporary blindness.
The robbers took the victim’s stash of cash and fled south on Mission Street.
This isn’t the first incident where thieves have used pepper spray to rob in the city, said Albie Esparza, a San Francisco Police Department spokesperson, “But it’s not something that criminals use frequently.”
Pepper spray is categorized as a “less-than-lethal weapon.” That means shooting someone with pepper spray is less likely to kill than other weapons. Law enforcement often uses it to prevent crowds from rioting. Individuals carry it for personal defense.
The pepper-spray robbery was the first of three that happened in the Mission this weekend. The second occurred on Sunday at 1:40 a.m. on Market and 16th streets, when a man in his 40s grabbed a watch from the hands of a 52-year-old woman who was showing it to her friend.
The victim yelled at the thief to give it back. But he didn’t listen.
The third robbery happened later at 5:30 a.m. on 19th and Shotwell streets, when the thief approached a 24-year-old man and pulled out a knife.
He punched the victim multiple times in the head, grabbed his phone and fled the scene.
Police are investigating all three incidents, but no arrests have been made.