Burning eyes and bear mace: A weekend in pepper-sprayings

SEATTLE -- To paraphrase a dumb, overused joke popular with Internet commenters, maybe it's time we start doing background checks for pepper spray.

On Saturday night, children and families were hanging out at a playground in the 4400 block of 31st Avenue South when a group of teenagers showed up and started throwing rocks at them, according to the Seattle Police Department's report for the incident.

One of the victims later told officers she was pepper sprayed in the face by a teen girl when she threatened to call 911.

According to the report, the teen rock-throwers had all run off before officers arrived.

Early the next morning, a man rode his bike to a park in the 600 block of Seneca Street and was sitting in the grass listening to music when another man came up, pulled out what he said was a can of "bear pepper spray," and demanded his iPod, according to the police report for the incident.

When the victim refused to hand it over, the man explained someone had stolen his iPod and he wanted to make sure the victim didn't have it.

Scared of being pepper sprayed and thinking maybe the man was telling the truth, the victim handed over his iPod. And as one might expect, the man walked off with it, according to the report.

The victim later told officers he chased after the man but was sprayed twice in the face with an "orange-ish cloud," forcing him to give up the pursuit.

That evening, three young women came into a department store in the 1500 block of Fifth Avenue and aroused suspicion from the store's manager, according to the police report for the incident.

When the women set off the alarm as they tried to leave the store, the manager swooped in to detain them, according to the report. That's when she said she was blasted in the face with pepper spray from one of the women.

The women got away before officers arrived, but a witness told them he sees them hanging around Westlake all the time.