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Accused South Carolina robbers used mace spray on woman

Non-lethal weapons can be used by criminals for offense as well as defense. Last week, police arrested two men from Richland County, South Carolina for spraying a woman in the face with mace. The spraying took place in the course of an alleged robbery, said to have been perpetrated in front of the Wal-Mart on Two Notch Road. The victim reported that on September 9, one of the two men approached her in the parking lot and asked her for directions to Farrow Road. As she went over to his car to give him directions, the second man came and attacked her from behind.

After being sprayed the victim fell down, at which time the suspects grabbed her purse and drove away. Police later caught the alleged suspects with help from a Crimestoppers tip. The two men, both aged nineteen, face assault charges, battery charges and charges for strong-armed robbery. There is no word on whether or not they have yet to retain criminal defense.

Some may find non-lethal chemical irritants appealing because these weapons do not require licenses to obtain or carry - as do guns, for example. Furthermore, committing a crime with a gun can also add illegal possession of a firearm to the list of charges, whereas South Carolina has no separate crime, and therefore no extra penalty, for merely carrying a small amount of mace, pepper spray or tear gas.

However, the justice system takes all violent crimes serious. Even when "safe" weapons are used in place of more dangerous weapons, the penalties can be severe.

The victim in this case went in for treatment at Palmetto Baptist Hospital.

Source: WLTX, "Men accused of spraying woman with mace arrested," Tony Santaella, Sept. 13, 2012

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