Police: Thief pepper sprays 81-year-old outside gym

by: Mike Petchenik Updated:

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ROSWELL, Ga. - Roswell police said an 81-year-old man was robbed and pepper sprayed Tuesday as he left a local gym.

Investigators said the man got into his car in the parking lot of L.A. Fitness on Holcomb Bridge Road just after lunch Tuesday when a man, believed to be in his teens or early 20s, demanded his wallet.

"The man refused," said Roswell police Lt. James McGee.  "They had a little scuffle.  He was a feisty young man.  He fought back a little bit but did get pepper sprayed."

McGee told Channel 2's Mike Petchenik the robber took off with the victim's duffel bag, but not his wallet.  He said the victim was checked by medical personnel, but was not badly injured.

"Got to be careful.  In a case like this, you've got to be aware of your surroundings," said McGee.

McGee also warned against fighting off your attacker.  In this case, he said the 81-year-old victim punched the suspect a few times.

"If you see a weapon, it's best not to fight back unless you have some extreme training," he said.

Clients at the popular gym were surprised to hear of the attack and concerned for their own safety.

"It's terrifying," said Shannon McNulty.  "I live really close to here, and I know a ton of people who come here all the time."

Patron Frank Ryland said he would be changing up his routine to and from the gym in light of the attack.

"That's pretty sad when you've got to do that to an 81-year-old guy," he said.



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