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Woman pepper-sprayed in rural home invasion

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The Mounties have launched a manhunt for four armed men who broke into a New Bothwell-area home Sunday at 2:30 a.m., pepper-sprayed a woman and held a gun on her while robbing the woman in front of her six-year-old child.

Steinbach RCMP Sgt. Rob Lasson said Mounties were alerted at 4:30 a.m. and immediately rushed to the home.

Lasson said three or four men, all wearing balaclavas and carrying firearms, "forcibly entered a camper situated on a yard site that was occupied by a female resident.

"Upon entry into the camper, the suspects pepper-sprayed and pointed numerous firearms at the female victim forcing her into a back room. One suspect confined the victim by holding her at gunpoint as the remaining suspects rummaged through the camper stealing electronic equipment. The victim remained at gunpoint in the camper as the other suspects entered her residence where her six-year-old child was present. A variety of electronic devices were stolen from the residence," said Lasson.

Police said the victim described one suspect as large and dark with bushy eyebrows, while the other spoke English with a strong accent.

"The suspects fled the residence in an unknown vehicle in an undetermined direction," Lasson said. "The victim was not seriously injured during the incident. She was offered medical attention for the bear spray."

The Winnipeg RCMP Forensic Identification Section is assisting with the investigation.

No additional information is available at this time, said Lasson. The investigation is continuing.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Steinbach RCMP at 326-4452 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS) or at manitobacrimestoppers.com or text "TIPMAN" plus your message to Crimes (274637).

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