“I’m scared to death,” Headrick said Wednesday afternoon, Nov. 30. “I don’t know what’s going to happen.”
Headrick opened a bra in a box while shopping Nov. 25 to make sure it was the same size as on the box. The needle that pricked her ring finger was inside the box.
It is one of four incidents where a needle was found in some clothing at the retailer that the Bartow County Sheriff’s Office is investigating.
On Nov. 22 a woman said her daughter was stuck in the pinky by a syringe that was found in the left foot of pajamas recently purchased. She was treated at her home by EMS.
On Tuesday, the store’s loss prevention manager told a Bartow County detective that a woman found a broken, possibly used syringe in the pocket of pants hanging on the racks in the women’s department. The syringe did not stick the woman.
After police learned of those incidents Walmart representatives told sheriff’s officials that a syringe had previously been found in a pair of “Hello Kitty” socks. No one was stuck by that needle.
There have been no similar reports from any other Walmart stores.
A spokeswoman at Walmart’s corporate office in Arkansas said store officials are taking the matter seriously, but they believe it is an isolated incident.
“We also want our customers to know that we have carefully examined the clothing in the apparel department and found nothing out of the ordinary,” said Dianna Gee, Walmart spokeswoman. “We also have additional staff in place to continue to monitor the areas.”
At a press conference Wednesday afternoon, Sgt. Jonathan Rogers of the Bartow County Sheriff’s Office said the syringes have been taken to the GBI crime lab for analysis.
All of the needles appear to about the same, and they appear to be the type of needles you can purchase without a prescription, he said.
Walmart officials are viewing videotape to see if there are any clues as to who may have put the needles in the clothing, but so far police have few leads.
“We don’t know if it’s a disgruntled employee, a citizen against Walmart or just someone random,” Rogers said. “We’d like to figure out why people are doing it and get to the bottom of it.”
Meanwhile, Headrick is taking $1,300 worth of antiviral drugs to stave off any infections she could have received from the needle. At first she didn’t believe Walmart would cover the cost of the medication.
Gee said it was a misunderstanding.
“We have since reached out to Ms. Headrick, and we immediately contacted our claims department,” Gee said. “We will gladly work with them to pay for any valid medical expenses.”