Deputies searching for man accused of assaulting Grocery Outlet employee over mask mandate

SPOKANE VALLEY, Wash. — Spokane Valley deputies are searching for a man accused of refusing to wear a mask in the Grocery Outlet, and then assaulting an employee who tried to stop him from stealing items from the store. 

Deputies first responded to the Grocery Outlet near Sprague and Pines on Friday for reports of a disorderly customer. 

According to a release, employees asked a man inside the store several times to put on a mask, but he refused. When the man attempted to check out, an employee refused service and an argument ensued. 

The man allegedly picked up his roughly $15 worth of items and tried to leave the store without paying. An employee confronted the man, according to a release, and that’s when the suspect reportedly threw a coffee bottle at the employee, hitting them in the head. 

Employees told deputies the bottle fell to the ground, shattering, at which point the man picked up a piece of broken glass, holding it like a weapon and threatening the employee. 

The man eventually got in his car and headed west on Sprague. Deputies are still searching for him, and describe the man as being in his 20s, white, with long hair and wearing a white sweatshirt and blue jeans. 

If you have any information, you’re asked to call Crime Check at 509-456-2233.