A suspect in a perfume theft is escorted away by OPP officers in Orangeville, Ont. on Wed. Oct. 28, 2020 (Jeremy Williams)

Fast-thinking by the former mayor of Orangeville helped capture a man accused of stealing $15,000 worth of perfume and cologne.

Jeremy Williams says he was at Shoppers Drug Mart, filling a prescription for his mother Wednesday night when the action started.

"These two crooks started to just wholesale grab everything off the shelves and started to steal everything they could get their hands on."

Williams understood that this was not the first robbery of its kind at the store, as one employee yelled that "the Chanel guys" had returned.

Williams says the robbers started to panic near the front of the store as they tried to exit through an entry door.

"I grabbed a large, chrome sign...and I picked it up, and I just lassoed the guy so he couldn't go anywhere."

The former mayor's slow-down strategy was motivated by the pandemic.

"I don't wanna catch anything, I don't want to get injured, I want to keep the suspect at a distance, and the sign is the closest thing that I could find."

Williams did wind up getting closer to the suspect as he wriggled free. A group of shoppers restrained the man until police arrived and handcuffed him.

A 34-year-old Toronto man faces charges of theft and failing to comply with a probation order.

OPP say the second suspect got away with thousands of dollars worth of merchandise. He's described as Portuguese, wearing a black track jacket with red stripes down the sides.

Williams, who was mayor of Orangeville from 2014-18, was motivated to act by his concern for the pharmacy's staff.

He has a message for would-be criminals.

"Stay the hell out of Orangeville," Williams says. "There was three of us that ended up tackling this guy, and there's more citizens like us in Orangeville. We don't take kindly to it."