JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A 15-year-old was arrested Thursday after a woman working at a bicycle shop in Riverside was attacked Wednesday morning, according to the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office.
Patrick Christopher Mack, 15, is charged with aggravated battery and grand theft of a bicycle.
Police said Mack rode up on a bicycle to City Cycle on Park Street about 10 a.m. Wednesday and asked the store's manager for help with a flat tire.
She helped the teen but told police that "he was acting suspicious" and "she walked back behind the counter, and armed herself with pepper spray, but eventually set it down," the incident report said.
Moments later, police said, Mack sprayed the woman with the pepper spray and tried to steal a bicycle. The woman stopped him from leaving with the bike but before he ran off, Mack "then struck her on the forehead with a chair," the arrest report said.
Patrick Graham, a regular customer at City Cycle, said he showed up at the store, found the door locked and called 911.
"Nobody showed up. So I looked inside, I see the store manager ... crawling on the floor in the back. (She) had blood on her arm. So I started pounding on the windows, trying to get her attention. Finally, (she) was able to make it over. In the meantime, I had already called police and rescue," Graham said.
A nearby business caught a surveillance image moments after the attack of a person running in front of the store. Investigators said they also reviewed City's Cycle surveillance video and noticed that the attacker was wearing the same clothing that students wear at Grand Park Education Center.
The next day, investigators went to Grand Park Education Center and the school board officer told them the person in the surveillance image matched the description of Mack, a student at the school.
Mack was positively identified by the victim Thursday and then arrested, police said.
The arrest report also noted that Mack was found on Moncrief Road Wednesday and then taken to school, where he arrived at 11:15 a.m., according to the roll-call system.
News4Jax spoke with the mother of the woman who was attacked. She said her daughter is out of the hospital and is recovering -- just shaken up more than anything.
The news of the attack has shaken people in the Riverside neighborhood, including Michelle Macon, who both lives and works in the area.
"It's pretty frightening considering I work about two blocks away and I live about six blocks away," Macon said. "Especially because I'm in the hospitality industry and the late nights and just even walking to your car when you're clocking out is a little bit frightening."
Macon, who works at a bar nearby, said she's frustrated because the incident is the latest in a string of violent crimes in the neighborhood.
"You see some people that are definitely a little shady looking and people that look like they (should) be feared. And, typically, those aren't the ones that bother you. It's the ones you don't see that do. So it's definitely scary," Macon said.
A worker at the Blind Rabbit restaurant was murdered last summer and there have been other violent crimes in the Riverside area as well.
That's why City Councilman Jim Love requested more police officers to patrol the area earlier this year.
Police announced in July the arrest of one of the two men connected to the murder outside the Blind Rabbit
Love said the arrest, as well as the quick arrest in the bicycle shop attack, implies police are monitoring the area closely. He also said that at a meeting Thursday of civic and business leaders, seven JSO officer showed up instead of the usual one or two.
"We ran some of the numbers. And, actually, in some areas crime is down. In some areas, it's up. Unfortunately, we've had some high-profile things happen. That's sort of unusual and like what happened in the bicycle shop, which is very sad. But the good news is we've captured them, police are on it and they're doing a great job to capture these folks," Love said.
Anyone with information about recent crimes in the Riverside area, including the Blind Rabbit murder, is asked to call Crime Stoppers anonymously at 1-866-845-TIPS.
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