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Woman pepper-sprayed in bank parking lot

VISTA — A woman was pepper-sprayed and knocked to the ground by what appeared to be a juvenile who tried to rob her as she left a Wells Fargo bank after withdrawing a large amount of money Feb. 4, according to the sheriff’s department.
The crime happened at just before 11 a.m. at 930 S. Santa Fe Ave., and deputies at the sheriff’s station in Vista responded to a call that a bank customer was robbed in the parking lot.
A Hispanic male suspect, described as 17 to 18 years old, confronted a female victim and demanded her purse as she walked to her vehicle in the bank’s parking lot, according to Sgt. Rob Smith of the Vista patrol station.
The suspect demanded that the victim give the suspect her purse, but she refused, Smith said in a release.
The suspect then sprayed pepper spray — an inflammatory that causes immediate burning and closing of the eyes — in the victim’s face and tried to get the purse out of her hands, which was followed by a struggle that ended with the victim being knocked to the ground and sustaining scrapes and bruises, authorities said.
Witnesses came to the victim’s aid, yelled at the suspect to leave her alone and called the police.
The information provided by authorities said that the suspect fled the scene without the woman’s purse.
Detectives were shortly able to locate the suspect’s vehicle at an apartment complex at University Drive.
The vehicle was unoccupied and the investigation is ongoing, according to Smith.