Two shoppers at an Atlanta-area Wal-Mart have reported being pricked by hypodermic needles hidden in clothing, prompting an investigation by Georgia sheriff's officials who are urging others to be cautious.
A third shopper found a broken syringe in the pocket of a pair of pants at the Wal-Mart in Cartersville, about 45 miles northwest of Atlanta, but was unharmed, according to Sgt. Jonathan Rogers, a spokesman for the Bartow County Sheriff’s Office.
Rogers said the first incident was reported Nov. 22, when a woman bought a pair of footed pajamas at the store for her daughter. When the girl was putting on the clothes at home, she reported being stuck in her right pinky by a syringe, according to the police report.
When the officer asked whether she had been stuck in the foot area, the child said she was "unsure because I freaked out."
In another case, reported Nov. 27, a woman said that while shopping at the store two days earlier, she opened a package of bras and her finger was stuck by a needle. After telling the store manager, she was advised to seek medical attention and get checked for hepatitis and HIV.
Rogers said the sheriff’s department was reviewing store security footage for any clues in the case.
"We’re trying to identify who may have done that and why they might have done that," he said.
He said neither victim had any "medical issues that we know of," after the incidents. The syringes, which were all recovered, appear to have been unused, Rogers said.
Wal-Mart said it was working with law enforcement on the investigation, and taking extra precautions, such as adding staff in the women's apparel area.
"We're committed to getting to the bottom of it," said Dianna Gee, a Wal-Mart spokesperson. "We do believe it's an isolated situation involving this particular store."
Meanwhile, Rogers urged shoppers to be vigilant as they examine clothing.
"You naturally want to be careful putting your hands into places where you can’t see them," he said.
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