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California shoppers pepper sprayed in purse section

WALNUT CREEK, Calif. — Holiday shoppers pepper sprayed by a purse thief managed to subdue the parolee running from a Walnut Creek department store with $10,000 worth of handbags.

Walnut Creek police said Bryan Black, 42, and a female accomplice snatched 17 high-end purses at a Nordstrom store Saturday night and ran for a getaway car.

Lt. Steve Gorski said the woman escaped with a couple of purses. But Black, an Oakland parolee armed with a knife, was grabbed by a shopper and tackled by another. Black showered the shoppers with pepper spray, but they managed to hang on until police arrived, investigators said.

Black was booked for investigation of robbery, burglary, assault and possession of stolen property.

The incident happened 10 days after a woman spewed pepper spray on a crowd of Black Friday shoppers at a Wal-Mart store in the San Fernando Valley.

The Associated Press contributed to this report by NBC station KSBW of Santa Barabara, Calif.

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