Boston Heights Costco manager pepper sprayed; police looking for suspect

Jeff Saunders
Kent Weeklies

BOSTON HEIGHTS — Police said Friday they are asking for the public’s help in identifying a man who allegedly pepper sprayed a Costco store manager in the face while being escorted out of the store for refusing to wear a face mask late Thursday morning.

Police said the man dressed in all black and wearing cargo-style tactical pants and tactical boots entered the Bass Pro Drive Costco at about 11:15 a.m. and refused to put a mask on when confronted by store management.

“He basically was in the store for about a minute,” Police Chief Chad McArdle said. “They said, Hey, you’ve got to put a mask on.’ He said something along the lines of, ‘Are you going to make me?’ [The manager] said, ‘I’m just going to escort you out of the store,’ at which time he turned and maced her right in the face.” 

The man then ran from store and got into a white Ford Crown Victoria with a spotlight attached.

“Like a retired police car, something like that,” said McArdle.

The vehicle had a dark license plate cover that obstructed the registration, said police.

McArdle said the manager was not badly injured.

“She’s good,” he said. “She was fine. We called a squad and she refused transport and just went home for the day.”

He said the manager was able to record the incident on video with her phone and it is believed the male entered the store with the intent of spraying someone.

“Just watching that video, he’s basically holding the can of mace the whole time he’s in the store,” said McArdle. “He didn’t just dig it out of his pocket. You can see it as he’s walking around. It’s kind of weird.”

Anyone with information is asked to call Boston Heights police at 330-653-5911.

Reporter Jeff Saunders can be reached at jsaunders@recordpub.com or @JeffSaunders_RP.