SOUTHWEST MIAMI-DADE, FLA. (WSVN) - Mayhem erupted at Dadeland Mall after, officials said, a woman trying to free a man who had been detained for allegedly shoplifting released the contents of a pepper spray can inside the shopping center’s Macy’s store, Saturday.

The shopping scare drew onlookers to the retailer to find out what happened. “These days I’m not really surprised by much that goes on,” said Andrew Lewis. “I’m sorry to hear that. Even though it’s terrible, I’m not surprised anymore.”

Adarius Jones

Police said it all started when 24-year-old Adarius Jones was caught shoplifting. Investigators said, as the subject was being taken into custody, a woman approached and tried to free him near an elevator.

Authorities said the woman opened a can of pepper spray and aimed it right at the security staff, sending the mist into the vents and throughout the large department store, located at 7303 S.W. 88 St., in Southwest Miami-Dade.

Investigators said Macy’s loss prevention personnel had spotted the duo together inside the store prior to the incident.

Cellphone video posted on social media showed customers as they’re kept from entering the Macy’s. 7News cameras captured employees huddled outside the store.

Ambulances were stationed outside in case anyone who inhaled the chemical needed to be transported. First responders said five guards were affected by the spray. Paramedics took one of them to the hospital.

Lewis wasn’t inside the store at the time of the incident, but he knows it couldn’t have been good. “It’s terrible, man,” he said. “I feel bad for everybody in the Macy’s, you know, because you don’t come to the mall expecting to shop and have that happen to you, so that’s a terrible thing to happen.”

The retailer was back up and running as usual by the end of the night.

Police said the woman ran off after setting off the pepper spray can. She remains at large.

If you have any information on her whereabouts, call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-TIPS. Remember, you can always remain anonymous, and you may be eligible for a $1,000 reward.

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