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Bear spray-armed thieves rob Vancouver Apple Store

Thieves armed with bear spray hit the Oakridge Mall Apple Store in Vancouver just before closing in Monday, spraying roughly 40 people and making off with an unknown number of iPods, iPads, and notebooks.

The National Post carried word of the robbery, which saw three men bearing a caustic, cayenne pepper-based chemical attack the Apple Store. There were roughly 40 customers in the store, of which five would later need treatment by paramedics for exposure to the spray. The robbers are said to have fled by car.

Most of the valuable Apple electronics are likely to have been out of reach of the robbers, as Apple Stores keep most stock in hidden storage rooms behind closed doors. Vancouver police say that the thieves made off with only "a small number of electronics."

Apple Store robberies have been a recurring occurrence since the company first opened its specialized retail outlets. The premium nature of Apple's products, combined with the relative ease of access to the stores, makes them a prime target for smash-and-grab operations. The new year kicked off with word that thieves in Paris had made off with $1.3 million in Apple products from the Apple Store there. Another more recent robbery saw a thief destroying a $100,000 custom glass door to steal $64,000 in merchandise.