Woman arrested after allegedly spraying bear spray at Pitt employees


Image via Wikimedia Commons

Bear spray contains capsaicin, the same active ingredient found in pepper spray.

By Jon Moss, News Editor

A 28-year-old woman was arrested Monday after allegedly spraying bear spray at several Pitt employees in the Eureka Building on Forbes Avenue. Mary Siegert was charged with six counts of simple assault, one charge of causing or risking catastrophe and one charge of possessing a prohibited weapon.

According to a criminal complaint filed by Pitt police officer Alexander Visinch, employees in the building said a woman entered and asked several questions about a “technology center” before leaving. Several moments later, the employees began experiencing coughing, watery eyes and difficulty breathing — symptoms similar to those of being exposed to pepper spray.

Visinch and other Pitt police officers arrested Siegert after seeing her get on and off of several Port Authority buses on Fifth Avenue. When searching Siegert, Visinch said he found a used 8-ounce can of Grizzly Tough Bear Spray Counter Assault hidden inside the lining of her jacket and a second unused can inside her backpack.

Although Siegert admitted to Pitt police officers that she was carrying the spray, she did not admit to releasing it in the building.

“Siegert informed the detectives that the bear spray periodically goes off or that she may have accidentally bumped the bear spray,” Visinsch said in the complaint. “It should be noted that the officers that encountered Siegert never saw or found any residue from the bear spray upon her clothing.”

Siegert did not post $5,000 bail and is currently being held in the Allegheny County Jail. Her preliminary hearing will be held on June 3.

Leave a comment.