BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Since news of an alleged rape in the Garden District broke, people have been flooding into Baton Rouge stores to arm themselves against potential danger.
Shirley Hogan, owner of Baton Rouge Police Supplies, said the customers have been pouring in to purchase protection and peace of mind, mainly in the form of pepper spray.
"They're coming in because they're afraid, and there's a lot of people who don't have guns or don't want to use them or whatever and that's really the only protection they've got," Hogan said.
Baton Rouge Police are asking for the public's help to find a man they say allegedly robbed and raped a 31-year-old woman after forcing his way into her home around 9:45 p.m. Thursday.
Until the suspect is caught, customers like Glenda Brooks are planning to stand their ground.
"I'm not going to allow myself to be a victim," Brooks said. "I will not allow myself to be afraid to go anywhere in fear of what might happen."
Brooks said because elderly people are considered to be easy targets, she is stocking up.
"I believe in the Lord and the Lord does protect us, but I've also had judo and karate so I want to be armed. You never can be overly protective," Brooks said.
Hogan said at least a dozen people have come into the store for the pepper spray to make sure in case of an emergency they are protected.
The spray is designed to stop an attacker in their tracks, making their eyes close in reaction and causing them to feel like they can't breathe.
"They're worried about themselves at that point and that gives you the opportunity to get away," Hogan said.
Hogan said she has several containers of the spray for her own personal use and while she has never had to use it, just knowing it is there gives her peace of mind.
Anyone with information about the alleged rape suspect is asked to call Crime Stoppers at (225) 344-7867.