An innocent Georgia shopper took advantage of Black Friday sales while making her way to Walmart last week. While reaching for her last purchase, Patricia Headrick was pricked by a syringe.
Patricia Headrick reached to grab a boxed bra, and “that’s when it pricked me,” she exclaimed last Wednesday. The shopper’s finger was struck by a syringe needle. Headrick immediately panicked.
“Whose arm was this in? Whose body?” Ms Headrick wonders. “Am I going to die?”
In recent days, syringes have been located four times at the Walmart in Catersville. In two of the cases, hypodermic needles have pierced the skin of customers, who required emergency medical care to prevent spread of any potential disease, according to Sgt. Jonathan Rogers with the Bartow County Sheriff’s Office.
The mystery behind who planted the syringes, how they have been used and what, if anything, they contained remains. The suspect items have been sent to the GBI for further testing.
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Once Headrick and her husband, Keith, revealed the incident to Walmart managers, she was sent to the local hospital to get a Tetanus shot and for blood work testing. While the tests have been OK so far, she’ll have to return for follow-up tests in about six months.
Fearful that she could have contracted Hepatitis, Headrick reveals “I’m scared to death. I don’t know what’s going to happen.” Headrick looks at her situation as a “waiting game.”
Headrick said her family paid $1,300 for medicine advised by Doctors in order to deter potential of contracting an illness.
A Walmart spokeswoman told the AJC Wednesday evening that “any customers harmed as a result of this [will be reimbursed] for any valid medical expenses.”
“We are committed to getting to the bottom of this, to determine exactly what happened and how,” said spokeswoman Dianna Gee via phone from Walmart’s Bentonville, Ark., headquarters.
Store employees have inspected all of the clothing to be sure no additional syringes were planted. Additionally, more staff will be monitoring the apparel department.
“At this point, we believe this an isolated incident involving just this store,” said Gee.
Investigators believe that the syringes were intentionally planted in the clothing departments. Walmart officials are working with deputies to review surveillance footage.
“We don’t want anyone else to get injured at all,” Rogers said at a press conference Wednesday afternoon. “We’d like to prosecute the person responsible.”
Other needle-prick cases, as reported by Sgt Rogers, include:
A mother’s purchased footed pajamas for her 14-year-old daughter, who was pricked on the finger and possibly foot while putting them on. Emergency medical workers treated the teen in her home.
In another incident, a syringe was found in a pair of Hello Kitty socks. Walmart officials reported this incident to the sheriff’s office,
Just this past Tuesday, another shopper found a syringe in a pair of pants. However, this particular shopper was not struck by the needle.