Police blast TJ Maxx for not reporting multiple mace-spraying shoplifter incidents

Local TJ Maxxes are on high alert following a number of bizarre shoplifting incidents.
Local TJ Maxxes are on high alert following a number of bizarre shoplifting incidents.

Around 8 p.m. Wednesday, a man who was apparently in the process of shoplifting something from the TJ Maxx store in Oak Park Heights sprayed the store with a "mace or pepper-spray type substance" as he left.

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That's strange. But even stranger is the fact that TJ Maxx management didn't report the incident to police afterward. And even stranger than that is the fact that Wednesday wasn't the first time in recent history that a local TJ Maxx had been victimized by a mace-spraying shoplifter.

From the Star Tribune (emphasis mine):

Police were only notified a half-hour later by a sickened customer being treated with her daughter at a nearby hospital emergency room. They were only told that similar incidents have been happening at other T.J. Maxx stores, and that the company is doing its own investigation "in hopes of putting together a large case," said Brian DeRosier, Oak Park Heights police chief and emergency manager...

DeRosier added that the store's prior knowledge of this type of incident at other stores "would be even more reason to call for assistance and provide a description at that time." He called the store's failure to provide information that could lead to the arrest of suspect, and possibly prevent similar incidents elsewhere, "an unprofessional and irresponsible response by the retailer" that exposes customers to further danger.

The spray released on Wednesday by the suspect -- unhelpfully described as "a black male" -- ended up causing nine people, including customers and employees, to report "sneezing, coughing and irritation," DeRosier said, according to a Pioneer Press report.

Either the suspect really likes TJ Maxx's clothes, or he's settling a score against the retailer in an extremely bizarre way, apparently.

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