Local stores report pepper spray, other weapon sales up after attacks

Published 5:10 pm Wednesday, April 4, 2012

As police continue to search for a man wanted for two sexual assaults and an armed-robber, personal protection items are flying of the shelves of Troy stores.

“We’ve definitely had an increase,” said Joey Holley, owner of Pawn Express on U.S. Hwy 231 in Troy. “It’s really picked up in the last two weeks.”

Most people coming in to Pawn Express looking for self defense items are women, Holley said. And most are interested in non-lethal weapons.

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“They are asking for stun guns, Tasers and pepper spray,” Holley said.

Only a few have looked into purchasing guns or rifles.

Mace runs about $20 at Pawn Express, contact stun guns are between $40 and $80 and the store is getting in new Air TASERs, similar to what police use. Holley said those should be available as early as Thursday and cost about $370.

Pawn Express has pepper spray and stun guns in stock and have ordered more.

Chelsea Kilpatrick, a 19-year-old Troy University junior, was at the Troy Sport Shop Wednesday afternoon looking for something that would give her peace of mind and protection.

“I came in to get a Taser, but then I saw pepper spray,” Kilpatrick, who lives alone, said.

Kilpatrick left the store with a stun gun and pepper spray and said she hoped she would feel safer and more prepared.

“I want to be cautious,” Kilpatrick said. “Before today I had nothing for protection.”

And Kilpatrick isn’t the only one who has purchased self-defense products at the Troy Sport Shop. Forrest Albritton, an employee, said he estimates the store has sold more than 100 containers of pepper spray.

“We had a big spurt of people shopping for protection items after the first home invasion earlier this month,” Albritton said. “After the first rape it picked up again. After the second we saw even more and the armed robbery on campus sent sales through the roof.”

Guns and pepper spray are the two top requested items from people who come in for items of protection at the Troy Sport Shop. And “women and daddies” are the people shopping the most.

Pepper spray sells for between $10 and $15 depending on the brand at Troy Sport Shop and small guns range from $310 to $600, Albritton said. Troy Sport Shop also has light weights for women who walk with pepper spray built into a weight for $12. All three items are in stock and pepper spray will be ordered on a daily basis until the demand dies down.

In the March 26 sexual assault cases at Hunter’s Mountain Mobile Estates, police are looking for a black man between 40 and 50 years old who is about 6 feet tall and weighs about 250 pounds. He has a close haircut and was wearing a black or dark blue shirt and loose-fitting black or blue jeans.

Individuals with tips or information should call the Troy Police Department at 566-0500, or the Secret Witness Line at 566-5555, regarding the sexual assaults. There is a $20,000 reward being offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the man responsible.

In the April 1 armed robbery case at Troy University, the student described the robber as a black male in his early 20s wearing a black hoodie and a scarf over his face. The suspect is about 6-feet tall and weighs about 170 pounds.

Anyone with information concerning the robbery should call 670-3215 during the day and 670-1999 after hours.