Robbery suspect arrested after punching Dollar Tree store clerk in face, New Westminster police say

New Westminster police. (New Westminster Police/Facebook)

A man has been arrested after he allegedly punched a retail store clerk in the face before fleeing the scene without paying for his merchandise.

New Westminster police responded to a call about the incident at the Dollar Tree store at the New Westminster SkyTrain Station at approximately 5 p.m. on Sunday.

"Witnesses pointed NWPD to a bank vestibule where the suspect was believed to be," said Sgt. Sanjay Kumar, in a news release.

When confronted, the suspect allegedly threatened the officers and made racist comments towards them.

Officers used pepper spray on the suspect and then took him into custody.

Gregory West, 28, is facing several charges in connection to the incident, including one count of theft under $5,000, one count of assault, one count of mischief and one count of uttering threats.

"I want to say to all the front line customer service workers in the city that we see how hard you're working and you deserve to be treated with dignity and respect," Kumar added.

"Furthermore, racist comments directed at our officers - or anyone in the community - are completely unacceptable."