A man has been arrested after allegedly attacking a staff member at a Coles supermarket in inner Melbourne with a stick.
Police confirmed to Yahoo News Australia they were called to the Brunswick supermarket on Sunday night and arrested a man after reports he had assaulted a staff member.
“It is alleged the man struck a staff member outside the business with a stick shortly before 8:30pm Sunday night,” a police spokesperson said.
The Coles worker did not require medical treatment, police said.
Pictures shared on social media show shoppers allegedly apprehending and pinning the man to the ground.
According to witnesses, about three men and two staff members held the alleged offender until police arrived.
“Some guy just started beating a Coles staff member at Barkly Square with a large stick and was then pinned down by a bunch of customers,” a witness tweeted.
“The calls for ‘security’ across the loud speaker weren’t really answered for a while, so the customers had to take action,” the witness wrote online.
Speaking to Yahoo News Australia, the witness said the store’s shelves were stripped bare of a majority of products including bread, meat, pasta, rice, meat, painkillers and pet food at the time of the incident.
He said he believed the alleged attacker left the store before returning with the stick.
“He seemed really agitated and was yelling as he stormed through the entrance targeting a particular guy,” he said.
“He must have pulled the stick off a tree in the carpark, and hit the guy several times like a whip.”
The shopper described the mood as “a bit glum but not panicked” on Sunday night.
“Everyone stopped in their tracks to watch it happen,” he said.
A man was taken into custody and interviewed by police last night, a police spokesperson told Yahoo News Australia.
A Coles spokesperson said that because it was now a police matter, the supermarket would not be commenting on the incident but implored shoppers to be calm and cordial.
“There is enough for everyone if people shop as they normally shop. Coles team members and suppliers have been working as hard as possible delivering more products to stores every day and stocking shelves as quickly as possible,” a Coles spokesperson said.
“We ask for customers to continue to respect and support our store team members and our Customer Care and Coles Online call centres, particularly if a product is unavailable or if the checkout queues are longer than normal.”
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