A liquor store clerk thwarted a knifepoint heist late Thursday by pepper spraying the robber, Watsonville police reported.
The attempted robbery happened around 10:20 p.m. when a man walked into Lulu's Liquors, at 1102 Freedom Blvd., and brandished a knife at the clerk and several customers, police said.
But instead of complying with the robber's demands for cash, the clerk pepper sprayed him in the face, police reported.
The robber ran away without taking money, police said.
Watsonville police officers and a Sheriff's Office police dog searched the surrounding neighborhood but didn't find the would-be robber, police said. He was described as a Latino man, 20-30 years old, medium build, wearing a black hooded sweatshirt and blue jeans.
The liqour store was the site of a gang-motivated stabbing last weekend.