Authorities: 61-year-old pepper-sprayed, robbed while at ATM

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Authorities in Anoka County released surveillance photos of a suspect they say pepper-sprayed a 61-year-old man in the face during an ATM robbery.

According to a Facebook update from the Anoka County Sheriff's Office, the attack happened on Saturday afternoon at the U.S. Bank on Bunker Lake Boulevard in Andover.

They say the suspect – who is described as being in his late teens or early 20s and wearing a "distinctive" blue Nike hoodie – sprayed the victim "several times in the face" with a Mace-like aerosol chemical irritant.

According to the Star Tribune, the victim told police he attempted to put up a fight but eventually handed over his money.

The sheriff's office doesn't say how much cash the 61-year-old lost or whether he was hurt.

Dangers of 'defense sprays'

"Defense sprays" – such as those made by the company Mace – can cause potentially serious injuries

For instance, though some sprays contain natural ingredients, they can lead to "first or second degree burns, severe skin irritation, depigmentation or other skin injury" if not properly removed from clothing after exposure, according to the Mace website.

As for leads in the Andover investigation, the sheriff's office says witnesses saw a "young male" matching the suspect's description on a bicycle or skateboard making his way through a nearby strip mall following the incident.

They're asking anyone who might have information as to his identity or whereabouts to contact them.

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