GREELEY, Colo. (AP) — A Walmart store in Colorado was evacuated after a shoplifter deployed bear spray against several employees, police said Sunday.

Officers responded to the Greeley Walmart on Sunday afternoon after receiving multiple reports about bear spray being deployed.

Workers had tried to detain a male shoplifter but he allegedly assaulted them, spayed them with the bear spray, and then fed in a vehicle prior to the arrival of police.

Emergency crews treated at least five people for exposure to bear spray, which can painfully irritate a person’s eyes, skin, and lungs.

The store was evacuated as a safety precaution and was to remain closed while the residual spray was cleaned up.

Greeley is about 50 miles (81 kilometers) northeast of Denver.