Bear spray attack and robbery described by Boulder medical marijuana dispensary owner

BOULDER, Colo. - The owner of a medical marijuana dispensary said a thief seemed to be making a delivery before opening fire with bear repellent and robbing the store.

Boulder police are investigating the robbery of the Dandelion Dispensary, which was reported around 6:50 p.m. Thursday. The business is located at 845 Walnut Street, in the downtown area.

The dispensary owner, Lauren Ginsberg, said employees had closed the store at 6:45 p.m., about 15 minutes early. Because they had closed early, an employee went to open the door when a man with a package knocked around 6:46 p.m.

A surveillance photo provided by Boulder Police shows a man, wearing a ski mask and a head lamp, outside the store. He is holding a light-colored box.

"He sprayed bear spray into her face," Ginsberg said. "He sprayed her, knocked her out of the way and went on through the whole store."

A second surveillance photo shows an employee clutching her face. The masked man's left hand is extended and appears to hold the can of spray. The box is in his right hand.

Four employees were in the store at the time of the robbery.

"At this point [employees] were already closing down and went into the back room," she said.

Ginsberg described the suspect as stuffing his pockets with marijuana and then dumping the jars into a bag. She said he took about 3 pounds, which she estimated would wholesale for up to $9,000.

"[He] didn't take any money or anything. He was casing the place. Someone said there was a getaway car," Ginsberg said.

Three people were treated at the store for exposure to the bear repellent and a fourth was taken to the hospital by ambulance, according to Boulder police spokeswoman Kim Kobel.

"It breaks my heart that I had an employee in the hospital last night," Ginsberg said.

After the robbery, the dispensary was filled with fumes from the bear repellant and police had to use gas masks to enter the business until firefighters could ventilate the building.

"It's orange spray all over the walls, the seats, the floor -- the glass countertop, if you wipe your hand, it is covered in orange," said Ginsberg.

"Two of the girls have to cut their hair off because it's so embedded in their hair," she added later.

Police are looking for a black Pontiac Grand Prix that was seen leaving the area shortly after the incident.

Kobel said police were originally told there were two suspects. Since only one suspect is seen on the surveillance video, they now believe only one person is involved.

The suspect is described as a white male, 6 feet 1 and 6 feet 2 inches tall. He weighed approximately 200 pounds. He was wearing a dark-colored jacked with a North Face logo on the shoulder and a hoodie underneath. His pants were a dark color and his shoes were hiking-type boots.

Police are also looking for the black Pontiac, possibly a Grand Prix. The car had a temporary license tag of 382661H. It was left running during the robbery and officers are working to determine if it was used in the crime.

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