Pepper-spraying food critic poisons restaurant’s atmosphere 

A transient who allegedly believed employees at a Carls Jr. in San Carlos were trying to poison him was scheduled to appear in court Tuesday on charges that he pepper-sprayed the workers, prosecutors said.

Richard Allen English Jr., 52, had been living in a creek near the fast-food restaurant, prosecutors said, when he allegedly concocted a plan to fight poison with poison on May 3.

After spending several minutes in the restaurant’s restroom, he reportedly walked up to the counter, whipped out “a canister of bear repellent” and sprayed it at three employees, “causing significant pain and discomfort,” authorities said.

English then allegedly ran out of the store and shouted “run!” to a pedestrian, before spraying him with the repellent, prosecutors said.

The suspect “has major mental health problems and believed that Carls Jr. employees were trying to poison him,” they said.

A pretrial conference was set for Thursday morning, and a jury trial for Aug. 30, prosecutors said. English is in custody on $50,000 bail.

maldax@sfexaminer.com

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