Baltimore County Police are investigating three reports of a man attempting to spray an unknown substance on women at grocery stores in Owings Mills, officials said.
Two of the women reported feeling dizzy and weak after the incidents, while another who averted being sprayed came forward Thursday after seeing a news release about the incidents, according to Baltimore County Police spokeswoman Sgt. Vickie Warehime. Police are not sure what the substance is, but believe it came from some sort of small bottle, Warehime said.
The third woman recognized the man in police photographs, and reported that the man had tried to spray her as well, but the victim knew something wasn’t right and “made a scene” when the man approached her, Warehime said. Police are attempting to identify the man allegedly involved in all three incidents.
Two incidents were reported at Wegmans located at 10100 Reisterstown Road in Owings Mills and another at Giant just over two miles away at 10210 Mill Run Cir. The incidents follow the same pattern, Warehime said. The man would lurk around the store with an empty basket and walk up and down the same aisles while trying to initiate close contact and conversation with the women, Warehime said. Some thought he was a “nice guy” until later on.
“The fear is that there were others that just thought it was a strange circumstance and didn’t realize that they were sprayed,” Warehime said.
The first incident was at the Giant store, when officers were called to the scene on Sept. 8, according to a news release. The victim said she was approached by the man, who said there was something on her pant leg, with the apparent intention of inducing her to touch it. When she touched it, it made her feel dizzy, according to police. He followed her out of the store, but left the area when she “made a scene,” according to the release. Grocery store surveillance footage showed the man spraying some sort of substance on her, the release said.
The second incident occurred the next day, Sept. 9, at the Wegmans store. The woman also felt dizzy after touching the substance, which the unknown man pointed out to her.
Police are interviewing the third victim to confirm the details of the third incident.
Baltimore County Police are urging anyone who may have been victimized in similar incidents to call 410-887-6975.