In this photo, the suspect can be seen pointing to the victim’s pants after spraying her with an unknown chemical substance that made her dizzy after making contact with it. (Courtesy photo)
By Jessica Dortch
AFRO News Editor
(The subject of this story has chosen to remain anonymous and will be referred to as Marie Brown for this article.)
A woman visiting Giant Food Supermarket in Owings Mills, Md. on Sept. 8 got more than she bargained for when she was attacked by a man who sprayed her with an unknown chemical substance.
According to Marie Brown, the Baltimore County Police officer who she spoke with belittled her trauma, ignored her calls, falsified the police report and lied to her about following up on the case. The other media outlets that followed the police report, which according to Brown was inaccurate, ultimately published a false account of the situation. The AFRO spoke with Brown to get her side of the story and set the record straight once and for all.
Brown was finishing off the last items on her shopping list in the early afternoon of Sept. 8 when she noticed a man who seemed to be following her. She observed the man picking up and putting down items, as if he too were shopping, while maintaining a close proximity to her. She proceeded to go into the next aisle with hopes of putting more distance between them, but when she turned around, he appeared to still be behind her.
She moved to the side to allow the man to walk past her, but he didn’t. It was at this point that she confirmed that she was indeed being followed. “I wanted to ask him, ‘Why are you following me?’” Brown said. When she turned to confront the man, he beat her to the punch. “He disguised his voice in like a childish voice saying ‘Excuse me. Excuse me, ma’am, there’s something on your pants,’” she recalled.
At first, she discarded the thought, but when she looked down she noticed a “sticky, white substance” on her pants. Naturally, she reached down in an attempt to wipe the substance off, then brought her hand closer to her face to examine the substance.
“Almost immediately, it made me out of it and dizzy,” she explained. Brown added that the man asked her if she was going to get the substance off her pants to which she responded, telling him to get away from her and leave her alone. Still feeling “woozy” and faint, Brown took a few minutes to “get herself together,” while the man fled the scene.
Brown approached the nearest associate and explained to them what happened. She even noted that she could see the man in the parking lot approaching an older woman. The Giant associate did nothing. The AFRO tried to make contact with representatives from Giant, and are still awaiting a response.
After speaking with a Baltimore County police officer, Brown said she felt that the officer minimized her experience and brushed her off. The police report claims that Brown made a scene at the market and that the man followed her out of the store to which she said that she never told them that. After doing some investigating of her own, Brown found that the officer hadn’t even pulled the security footage of the incident. Another victim reported a similar attack at Wegmans in Owings Mills the same day.
“One of the concerns that we have is that we know the suspect is putting some sort of chemical substance on the victims. Both of the victims said that they felt weak, dizzy and lightheaded after coming in contact with that substance. Right now the forensic lab is running tests to determine what that substance is. We don’t have that answer yet, but our main fear and concern is the motive of the suspect,” said Sergeant Vickie Warehime, director of Public Affairs for the Baltimore County Police Department about the ongoing investigation.
“We are asking that if anyone can identify the suspect, if they have any information or if they have been a victim of a similar event and just thought it was something strange, we need them to contact the police department,” Sgt. Warehime added.
Since the attack, Brown has received dozens of messages from other women across the state who described similar traumatic situations. Justice should be served to these women, and if you have any information that would be helpful to this investigation, call 410-887-6975.