A 24-year-old Huntsville man was in custody Thursday night on a first-degree robbery charge after he walked into an Athens business and pepper sprayed the attendant, robbing her of an undetermined amount of cash.

Neal Mathias Reisel, of 6203 Ryme Village Drive, Huntsville, was arrested by Athens police after the call came in that A-1 Title Pawn on U.S. 72 West had been robbed.

Capt. Tracy Harrison, responding to the call, spotted the suspect near Charter Cable TV and called for backup. Some 15 Athens officers gave chase as the robber fled on foot.

“It was about 15 of us after him and we had him surrounded,” said Officer Wesley Jarrett. “He wasn’t able to get too far.”

Lt. Floyd Johnson said officers apprehended the suspect on South Houston Street shortly after the robbery.

The attendant on duty at A-1 Title Pawn was treated at the scene by medical personnel, Johnson said.

“He just walked in the business at approximately 3:30 p.m. and used the pepper spray on her and demanded money,” Johnson said. “He left the building on foot and that is when Capt. Harrison spotted him as he responded to the robbery call.”

A-1 Title Pawn is located just west of Spry Funeral Home.

Johnson said the man left the store with cash, but authorities have not yet determined just how much. The investigation is continuing.

Reisel was to be transferred to the Limestone County Jail Thursday night and bail bond was expected to be set sometime today.

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