Police: Man enters Colorado Springs store, tries on dress, chokes clerk

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Thomas Bittner.

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — A man was arrested Monday after Colorado Springs police say he walked into a store, tried on a dress and choked a clerk before customers came to her rescue.

Thomas Bittner, 37, is being held on a $12,000 bond in the El Paso County jail and is facing numerous charges, including kidnapping, false imprisonment and assault.

The incident happened just after 2 p.m. at an unknown store on North Tejon Street. Police say Bittner asked to try on a dress, which he did. After walking out of the dressing room, he ran into the employee restroom.

A female clerk chased him and told Bittner he was in an employee-only area. Bittner did not close the door and police said he then reached around the door and dragged the clerk into the restroom, pulling her onto the ground and choking her.

A female customer rushed to the clerk’s aid and started punching Bittner. The clerk got away and called 911 while a man who had come into the store blocked the bathroom door so Bittner could not get away.

Officers quickly responded and took Bittner into custody.

The clerk suffered minor injuries and was treated at the scene, police said.