By Marlee Ginter

TURLOCK (CBS13) — A simple stop at the grocery store took a sudden and startling turn when police say a man started confronting people with two dogs at his side and pepper spray in his hand.

“I’d have a fit. That is just too much. That’s scary,” said shopper Tammy Rice.

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CBS13 showed the suspect’s picture to Rice who was shopping at Grocery Outlet off Main Street in Turlock. It’s where investigators say the most recent incident happened when the suspect went into the store with the two dogs.

Police say he went to buy something but then showed his pepper spray to employees when they told him he had to pay for a bag.

“That’s crazy. I only shop here but I’ve never seen that. That’s the first time I’ve heard anything as crazy as this,” said Rice.

“That’d be scary. It’d be nice if he got caught. Probably needs help,” said shopper Julie Thompson.

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A similar incident happened less than two miles away at Walmart off Fulkerth Road. Detectives say the suspect tried to steal a bike but a worker confronted him. He then pepper-sprayed that employee and took off with other stolen items.

“It sounds like this person is having some issues it doesn’t sound rational. It doesn’t sound like something common that happens here in Turlock,” said shopper Vince Vasquez.

Turlock police say the suspect caused a scare in at least four different local grocery stores where the suspect pepper-sprayed workers or threatened to spray them. In some cases, it was unprovoked. In all, three of the victims worked at the stores and one was homeless sitting outside the store and not even involved.

“To have to deal with this when you’re out going grocery shopping with your family is just outrageous,” said Rice.

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Turlock police are urging people not to approach the man if they see him outside a grocery store or in the parking lot.  They say stay back and contact police.