Employees attacked with bear spray during robbery at Winnipeg’s Wilderness Supply store

Police have made one arrest and are looking for another suspect after employees were attacked with bear spray at a wilderness supply store owned by a former Winnipeg mayoral candidate over the weekend.

In a Twitter post Sunday, Wilderness Supply owner Rick Shone said five employees were hit with bear spray during a robbery at the Isabel Street shop Saturday afternoon.

Read more: 2 forced entries involving bear spray lead to arrest of 18-year-old: Winnipeg police

Shone, who finished seventh in a field of 10 mayoral candidates in October’s civic election, said his employees are “OK but shaken.”

“Bear spray only causes temporary physical irritation … but they were attacked and the psychological aspect can be much more damaging,” Shone wrote in a series of social media posts, vowing to work to help make bear spray harder to obtain.

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“This person committed an illegal, senseless act and I will pursue it as far as I can.”

Police confirmed the violent robbery in a media release Monday.

Read more: Boy, 14, arrested after spraying 3 people with bear repellant, police say

Investigators say the suspects discharged a can of bear spray at the employees after getting caught trying to steal merchandise shortly after 1:30 p.m.

The pair fled on foot, but police say a 28-year-old man was arrested Sunday. He is charged with robbery and possession of a weapon.

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Click to play video: 'Winnipeg teen charged, others sought in bear spray attack at The Forks'

Winnipeg teen charged, others sought in bear spray attack at The Forks

Police say the victims were treated at the scene. They say the attack caused roughly $3,000 in damage to merchandise contaminated by the bear spray.

The major crimes unit is continuing to investigate and anyone with information is asked to call police at 204-986-6219 or Crime Stoppers at 204-786-TIPS.

Read more: Robbery with bear spray leads to evacuation of Winnipeg transit bus

Shone, who sells bear spray but only in-store, and “as a controlled substance, locked away,” said the product is too easy to obtain online and is calling for stricter penalties for those who use bear mace on people.

Manitoba Justice Minister Kelvin Goertzen has called on the federal government to make bear spray that has been modified for use on people a prohibited weapon.

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