Pepper spray routs Charleston nightclub's New Year's Eve party
Someone released stinging pepper spray at Club Pantheon on New Year's Eve as $3,000 rained on the dance floor and revelers counted down to 2014, officials said.
As a result, the club closed shortly after midnight and lost high-volume bar business from more than 200 customers. Otherwise, it would have stayed open until 2 a.m.
On its Facebook page, the Ann Street nightspot on Thursday offered a $1,000 reward for the identity of the person responsible for what happened.
"Probably thought he was going to get all the money," the club said.
Tips as to who released the pepper spray may be provided by calling the club at 577-2582 or through its Facebook page.
"It is sad that one stupid individual could be so thoughtless as to ruin this night (for) not only the hundreds of people that were celebrating the New Year but also the massive amount of money that our hard working staff and owner lost tonight," the club said on Facebook.
John Clarkin, 55, is listed as the club owner in a police report. Attempts to reach him by phone and e-mail were unsuccessful.
Police officers who responded to a call from the club were unable to track a suspect because they could not find anyone who said they had seen the person who released the pepper spray, the report says.
Eight people were treated for exposure to pepper spray. No one was taken to the hospital, said Charleston County EMS Director Don Lundy.
Pepper spray can cause symptoms of distress, such as heavy coughing, difficulty breathing and skin irritation that feels like a lot of mosquitoes biting, he said.
"It's a real scary thing," Lundy said.
He said that a few other similar incidents had happened in recent years.
The spray, which is used by law enforcement and for self-defense, is made from the oily extract of the cayenne pepper plant.
Lawson Roberts said he went to the club about 10 minutes after the incident to see if the confetti cannon he provided for the party had worked as intended. He saw people outside who complained of burning eyes.
"It was disturbing," he said.
Roberts described the situation as "a terrible loss" for the club owner.