Police arrest 2 in attack at store
Published: Friday, January 18, 2008 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, January 17, 2008 at 11:09 p.m.
Robbers attacked a Gainesville store employee Wednesday, throwing a chemical solution at her and blinding her before gagging her with duct tape, police reported.
Officers arrested Alfred White, 18, and a 16-year-old female, both of Gainesville, on Thursday for a robbery at Food Max, 915 E. University Ave., said Detective Patty Nixon.
Officers allege White threw some type of cleaning liquid, believed to be bleach, at the 46-year-old clerk, who police found crying at the store. The woman had duct tape around her neck and told police she couldn't see.
Nixon said the woman had been treated and released from an area hospital after the attack but her sight still had not returned.
"I haven't heard of anything like this in years," said police spokesman Lt. Keith Kameg. "What this is a sign of is desperation, stupidity. It's sad that other people will take other people's health and safety with absolutely no thought."
The victim told officers a man and a woman had been in the store earlier in the morning and later came back at about noon. The man asked to buy $5 worth of cigars.
"She gets a few together and hands them to them," Nixon said. "He in turn throws a chemical substance believed to be bleach into her eyes."
The man then jumped over the counter and knocked the screaming woman down. "He starts hitting her, telling her to be quiet," Nixon said. Then the man duct-taped her face to quiet her cries for help, police reported.
Before the robbers fled, the clerk said she heard the cash register open and the female suspect say, "Hurry up, boo," according to a police report.
Nixon said investigators used video taken from a camera at a nearby store and witness information to identify the suspects.
White was charged with armed robbery and aggravated battery, Nixon said. The teenager, who had already been serving home detention, also was charged with armed robbery and violation of home detention, according to police.
Lise Fisher can be reached at 352-374-5092 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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