Man Arrested for Allegedly Pepper Spraying Crowd to Steal Phone

posted by City News Service - 

PALM SPRINGS (CNS) - A man who allegedly pepper-sprayed several people to steal a cell phone during a large fight at Palm Springs' weekly VillageFest was in custody today. Dylon Cooke, 33, of Palm Springs, is accused of pepper-spraying an unidentified victim about 10 p.m. Thursday in the 100 block of South Palm Canyon Drive. 

Officers responded to the area for ``a large fight and possible assault with a deadly weapon,'' in which Cooke allegedly pepper-sprayed the victim, affecting ``several bystanders'' in the process, police said. Those affected by the pepper spray were treated on scene by Palm Springs Fire personnel. The incident was initially reported as a stabbing, but police said those reports turned out to be false. 

Cooke was arrested near the scene and allegedly lied to arresting officers regarding his name to hide that he was on Post Release Community Supervision, stemming from an unspecified prior offense. He was booked into the Larry D. Smith Correctional Facility in Banning on suspicion of robbery, assault with a caustic chemical, inflicting injury on a child, providing false ID to police and violating his Post-Release Community Supervision conditions.

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