Tanger Outlet employee pepper sprayed by shoplifting suspect

Two women were arrested Monday in Bluffton after a Tanger Outlet employee was pepper sprayed while trying to stop a pair of shoplifters.

The Gap employee saw two women who appeared to be trying to steal clothing from the store around 6:40 p.m., according to a Beaufort County Sheriff's Office report.

When the employee asked if she could help them, the women headed toward the front door, items in hand.

The employee then grabbed the bag of one of the suspects and informed her she had not paid for the items.

As the two struggled over the bag, the woman pulled out a pepper spray canister and sprayed the employee, the report said.

Both of the suspects then ran away, one with numerous items, to a gold or brown SUV, and left, the report said.

Deputies later identified the suspect who allegedly used the pepper spray as Kurstin Watson, 19, of Charleston, the report said.

Watson was charged with assault and battery and shoplifting.

The second suspect was also identified and faces a misdemeanor shoplifting charge.

Deputies were also able to locate the vehicle described as the getaway car, the report said.

Inside the vehicle, deputies found Gap merchandise and two trash bags full of clothing from various stores with a combined value of $285, the report said.

Both Watson and the second suspect were taken to the Beaufort County Detention Center and have since been released, according to the detention center's website.