ROCK HILL, S.C. -- The busy holiday shopping season is almost here, but shoppers and store employees in Rock Hill are on alert after a robbery.

On Monday night, a Belk employee was pepper-sprayed after trying to stop two thieves. Police said two women stole more than a $1000 worth of clothing.

It comes as Rock Hill Police get ready to step up patrols for the holidays.

Investigators allege the employee was assaulted after she followed the suspects out of the store and to their car.

Shoppers at the store are concerned about what it means for security during the holidays.

“That’ll make people not want to go shopping, especially around the holidays,” said Carolyn Jones.

Customers and police alike said the employee was putting themselves in danger by confronting the suspects.

“They (the employee) are putting their lives in danger,” said one shopper.

“That was above and beyond what we normally see and that’s where we see the confrontation happen last night,” says Captain Mark Bollinger with the Rock Hill Police Department.

After pepper-spraying the employee, police said the suspects took off. As a result of the incident, Rock Hill Police will be increasing patrols beginning on Black Friday.

“It’s terrible, terrible, terrible, we live in terrible days,” said Jones.

The crime is highlighting security concerns over the upcoming holiday shopping season.

“It’s the holiday shoplifting season,” says Captain Bollinger. “We’re really going to be out in force, next weekend for Black Friday, Saturday, Sunday over Thanksgiving weekend.

Bollinger said you can expect to see more police around stores through Christmas.

“I think that’s a good idea to keep people safe,” says Jones.

“Seeing officers around may deter it from happening,” said another shopper.

So far, there are no arrests in the latest armed robbery. However, police are now working to obtain video surveillance of the crime.

The victim who was pepper-sprayed was treated and released.