Police said an Alverda man was arrested Friday night after he sprayed two Indiana County convenience store employees with ether during an attempted robbery.
According to police, 42-year-old Steven Klingensmith walked into Betty Lou's, on state Route 286 in Green Township, about 9 p.m. Friday.
The store's cashier told police that Klingensmith was acting suspiciously and repeatedly lifted his shirt up over his nose and mouth.
Investigators said Klingensmith grabbed a pair of brown gloves and a can of ether that was on sale. He then walked up to the female cashier and demanded money.
"He said, 'Put all the money from your drawer in a bag, and there won't be a problem,'" the store's security guard, Randy Thompson, said.
Police said when the cashier denied him money, Klingensmith then sprayed her with ether. Thompson then approached Klingensmith, and police said he was also sprayed with ether.
"I don't know anything more flammable than what he was squirting me with," Thompson said. "I never considered (ether) a weapon before."
Authorities said Klingensmith then ran from the store and fled the parking lot in his car. Thompson followed after him and was able to fire a shot at the car, and it hit Klingensmith's front right tire.
"I take security seriously, and I think everything went right, except for him getting away," Thompson said.
Police were called to the store and given a description of Klingensmith's car. About an hour later, authorities were called with a possible sighting of the car.
According to police, detectives found the blown-out tire and, through a brief investigation, learned that Klingensmith had stopped to change the tire and fled again.
A few hours later, police received another tip of a possible sighting. This time, they were able to successfully take Klingensmith into custody.
Police said Klingensmith is facing charges of criminal attempted robbery, simple assault and retail theft.
Channel 11's Joe Holden reported that Klingensmith has prior arrests for DUI and burglary.