A bizarre drive-by assault with bear mace on a father and his 9-month old child in Walnut Creek, first reported here Sept. 13, has resulted in arrest and charges for a Concord woman accused of the assault.
Investigators maintain that 35-year-old Chelsea Reich of Concord planned the assault – engaging her boyfriend to drive the motorbike used in the attack – in retaliation against a former colleague she blamed for the loss of her job outside a Lennon Lane business.
According to court records reviewed by East Bay Times courts reporter Nate Gartrell, Reich faces felony charges of child cruelty, assault likely to produce great bodily injury, and misuse of tear gas stemming from the assault.
Records reflect that the baby’s father was carrying the child and waiting for his girlfriend to get off work outside the business when Reich and an unidentified boyfriend rode up on the motorbike and sprayed them with large canister of what turned out to be bear spray – an attack that sent the father and child to the hospital for treatment.
Police quickly identified Reich as a suspect, arresting her and the 31-year-old boyfriend – who has not been charged, according to Gartrell.
The Concord woman blamed the father’s girlfriend for her termination. Her bail was reportedly set at $250,000 though her custody status remains unknown. Reich pleaded not guilty and has been scheduled to appear for preliminary hearing in early October.
A police search of the residence Reich shares with her boyfriend allegedly turned up other items troubling to law enforcement: including an unregistered firearm, an explosive device of undetermined type, and a tracking device.
It was not immediately determined where Reich or her boyfriend obtained the bear spray used in the attack. A deterrent spray intended for use against aggressive bears in the wild, bear spray or bear mace is made of red pepper oil and is available in local stores.
Used against humans in a increasing number of cases since the spray was seen being widely used against police during the Jan. 6 insurrection in Washington, D.C., the spray (oleoresin of capsaicin) inflames the eyes and upper respiratory system.
When used as intended, it can effectively deter an aggressive bear. Against humans, it can cause permanent eye damage.