Police are looking for a man and woman who sicced a pair of pit bulls on an Acme Fresh Market employee while fleeing with a cart full of groceries.

The incident occurred at 12:45 p.m. Friday at the grocery store chain’s Kenmore location on East Avenue. The Akron Police Department will assign detectives to the case Monday.

Capt. David Laughlin said Sunday that the grocery store filed a police report alleging that a “white woman and a younger black male” left the store without paying for a cart full of goods. A 55-year-old employee followed the man and woman to a van in the parking lot.

“He approached and they let two pit bulls loose from inside the vehicle,” Laughlin said. “The dogs attacked him and bit him multiple times. The suspects entered the vehicle and fled the scene.”

The victim, who is not being named by police and could not be reached for comment Sunday, was transferred to Cleveland Clinic Akron General. His condition was unknown as of Sunday evening.

A manager at the Kenmore Acme could not comment on the incident without first speaking to the company’s corporate office, which was closed Sunday.

Laughlin said the man and woman, if caught, could be charged with aggravated assault in addition to theft. “This guy sustained some serious physical harm because of the use of the dogs. So, right now, it’s labeled as an aggravated robbery,” he said.

Dog attacks are not uncommon, Laughlin said. More rare are cases of dogs attacking people involved in altercations. What happened at Acme on Friday is even more rare, he said.

“I don’t hear about it very often as something happening in Akron,” Laughlin said of his 22 years on the force. “We do have the occasional dogs attacking people in general, but not the situation where they’re intentionally released — and not while they’re in the commission of a crime.”

Anyone with information about the alleged dog attack and theft is asked to call the Akron Police Department Detective Bureau at 330-375-2490.

 

Reach Doug Livingston at dlivingston@thebeaconjournal.com or 330-996-3792.