NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Shoplifters seem to be turning to a more potent concentrate to get away: bear spray.

“It’s very dangerous,” explained Glenn Alred, who is the owner of Alpha & Omega Tactical Training.

The latest victim, a sergeant with the Clarksville Police Department, was allegedly sprayed with bear repellent as he approached a group of women accused of shoplifting.

Alred, whose company evaluates security needs for homes and businesses, said it’s a concerning trend.

“We are seeing a real large uptick in people using bear spray, you know, to get away from retail security or mall security. We’ve seen a lot of that,” he said.  

Last week, a security guard at the Mall at Green Hills was reportedly sprayed with bear spray as a group of shoplifters made off with tens of thousand of dollars’ worth of items from the Nordstrom store. The fumes affected multiple people, prompting EMS units to come to the mall.

📧 Have breaking come to you: Subscribe to News 2 email alerts

“It’s a weapon and it’s causing people to lose eyesight and stuff, and if you did that to a police officer, just think now that police officer is ineffective; now he can’t see, or a security personnel, and if they have a weapon you can probably get their weapon away,” said Alred.

According to Alred, the concentrate in bear spray can be up to five times more powerful than that of a spray that police officers use.

“It shoots a wider stream. It goes out further and the concentrate in it is like three to five times more powerful than regular OC spray that police carry. If they spray the individual, they are done; they are out of the fight; they are not going to be able to chase nobody. They won’t be able to see; it’s very effective.”

Alred said the spray can be dangerous to anyone near where it’s sprayed and that it can linger on products inside the store, potentially causing harm to other shoppers if not cleaned properly.

He added that criminals who choose to use bear spray as a weapon on humans need to be prosecuted to the fullest.

Clarksville police are looking for 25-year-old Daniell Pitt, who they said is responsible for spraying the bear repellent in their case. She faces aggravated assault on a first responder, felony theft, and felony evading charges.