Missy Scarbrough was helping a customer at her shop, in Seal Beach on Tuesday, when the phone rang. It was a call that would end with Scarbrough and her husband Scott maced, battered and bruised, the shop in shambles and an alleged burglar in handcuffs.
The caller was the owner of a neighboring salon. He had watched a woman make three trips to load up her car with clothes from Inflight that didn’t appear to be paid for.
“He asked me if she was still in the store, and I said, ‘Yeah, she’s right here.’ She overheard me and ran to her car,” said Scarbrough. “I dropped the phone and ran to the car, opened the door and grabbed my stuff. She did a burn out, hitting the car in front of us,” said Scarbrough.
After the woman drove off, Scarbrough went back inside to call the police, and that’s when she discovered that she had grabbed the woman’s purse along with the clothes. Scarbrough told police it wasn’t an urgent matter because the would-be shoplifter was gone. But after she hung up, the door opened and in walked 43-year-old Long Beach resident Arlene Louise Bremner, and she wanted her purse back.
“She shouted, ‘Give me my purse back. You stole my purse,’” said Scarbrough.
Scarbrough said she invited Bremner to wait for police to arrive. That’s when Bremner started spraying mace and lunging for her purse, added Scarbrough.
“My husband came down (from upstairs) and saved me, and it turned into a full scale brawl, a wrestling match that went on for 15 to 20 minutes. She had like superhuman strength” said Scarbrough.
Gagging on the mace, Scarbrough managed to call 9-1-1 while her husband, who was completely blinded by the mace continued to hold onto the struggling Bremner.
According to Scarbrough, Bremner kept reaching for her purse, which had a large knife inside. She never got the knife, but she did get a second can of mace, and managed to go through a can and a half of the stuff before the police came and arrested her.
Bremner was arrested and booked on suspicion of commercial burglary and using a teargas weapon, Seal Beach police Sgt. Steve Bowles said.
“The thing that is really creepy is this lady has been shopping here a long time – at least five years,” Scarbrough said. “The last few times she came, she brought this special needs girl, and while I was helping the girl, she was probably stealing from me.”