Delaware shoppers subdue man accused of snatching purse, pepper-spraying victim

A grocery shopper at a Food Lion in Delaware was pepper-sprayed by a man she said stole her purse.

caption arrowCaption
A grocery shopper at a Food Lion in Delaware was pepper-sprayed by a man she said stole her purse.

A man accused of stealing a purse at a Food Lion in Delaware pepper-sprayed several customers, including the woman who accused him of the theft, the Salisbury Daily Times reported.

>> Read more trending news

Dustin Joseph Hensley, 29, was charged with one count of robbery in the first degree, four counts of felony second-degree assaults, one count of reckless endangerment and one count of offensive touching, the newspaper reported.

Susan Rainey, 62, said she was shopping at the grocery store Saturday night when she felt someone bump into her, the Times reported.

"I thought for a second, ‘Am I crazy? Did I leave (my purse) in the car?’” Rainey told the newspaper.

Spotting a man who she believed took her purse, Rainey yelled for someone to call 911 and confronted the man, whom police identified as Hensley, the Times reported.

That’s when the assailant pepper-sprayed Rainey in the eyes, the newspaper reported.

“I just crumbled into a little ball of pain and shock," Rainey said. "I went blind at that point.”

Hensley then allegedly pepper-sprayed three more people in the grocery store, but other shoppers pinned him down until police arrived, the Times reported.

Police took Hensley to the Wicomico Detention Center in Salisbury, Maryland, the newspaper reported. Hensley had several bench warrants in Maryland, police said. Delmar police said they are working on expediting Hensley to Delaware, the Times reported.

Rainey, an administrative assistant at Salisbury University, said she was grateful for the customers who reacted.

"I'm just so touched," Rainey told the Times. "There's so many people I wish that I could thank. ... And I don't even know who they are."

About the Author