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Police: Woman Tries to Spray Guard with Mace During Grocery Store Robbery

Garfield resident attempted to steal two bottles of liquor at Food Basics and attempted to mace a security guard before fleeing with an accomplice, Glen Rock police allege.

A Garfield woman is facing a slew of charges including armed robbery after police say she tried to make off with stolen liquor and attempted to mace a security guard who confronted her.

Mona Branch, 43, of Garfield, entered the Food Basics store on Lincoln Avenue on Wednesday and allegedly grabbed two liquor bottles off the shelf and placed them in her backpack.

According to Cpt. Jonathan Miller, Branch was spotted by a store manager and security guard attempting to leave without paying when the confrontation began.

The security guard, according to Miller, was attempting to detain her while Branch reached into the backpack, pulled out a can of pepper spray and made an attempt to spray him. Police say the attempt was unsuccessful and while gaining control of the accused, an alleged male accomplice approached the guard, who backed down. Branch dropped the backpack and fled with the unidentified male, Miller said.

Police say identifying information and the liquor bottles were found in the backpack, leading them to Branch's Garfield address.

"It shows how desperate people are to get what they want," Miller said of the incident. 

Branch turned herself in to Glen Rock Police headquarters on Thursday after urging from friends and family, police said.

Due to the alleged threat and attempt at violence, the consequences morphed from what could have been a simple shoplifting charge to charges of armed robbery, criminal possession of a weapon, possession of a weapon with the purpose to use it unlawfully, and shoplifting.

The accomplice could also face charges if apprehended, Miller said. Branch was remanded to Bergen County Jail in lieu of $25,000 bail.

Have a question or news tip? Contact editor James Kleimann at James.Kleimann@patch.com, or find us on Facebook and Twitter. For news straight to your inbox every morning, sign up for our daily newsletter.

D Taylor July 20, 2012 at 07:15 PM
Questionable economics. A can of pepper spray costs about $20, a cheap bottle of booze is about $10. More of a thrill seeker than a drinker.
Bo July 20, 2012 at 08:59 PM
Uh, this is why Police carry guns!
GlenRocking July 21, 2012 at 10:38 AM
Why is this always happening at Food Basic... It seems every other day they have problems with shop lifters. I know they have bodyguard but wouldn't it be better if they had a private security company with all the problems they are having there. .. Today it's Mace Tomorrow who knows what the next weapon of choice will be....JMHO
Ben Dover July 28, 2012 at 03:46 AM
Why don't reserve judgement until she has her day in court. Oh I forgot, she's black so she must be guilty.
rocky August 05, 2012 at 11:38 PM
CShe is not a bad person her son was shot a couple of weeks prior to th is incident and he almost lost his life. Her son was in a lot of pain and in need of medication and she was only trying to take the liqior to sell it to get her so cash to buy his mdication everyone makes mistakes she did what any parent would do. what any

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