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Syringes found inside clothes at Cartersville Walmart store

8:14 PM, Nov 30, 2011   |    comments
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  • A syringe found in clothing at a Cartersville Walmart store (Bartow County Sheriff's Office)
  • Syringe victim Patricia Headrick
  • Syringe victim Courtney Worthington, 14
  • Cartersville Walmart
    

CARTERSVILLE, Ga. (WXIA) -- "I felt something stick me in the finger and I was like, 'what is that'?" Courtney Worthington, 14, told 11Alive News in an exclusive interview Wednesday.

The 8th grader described how a syringe needle stuck her finger and foot while she was trying on some new pajamas her mother bought at the Cartersville Walmart on November 22.

"That's just unbelievable," she added, "whoever would think of doing that is like, crazy."

She's one of at least two people apparently jabbed by syringes found in clothing items at the Walmart store on Market Place Boulevard in Cartersville over the past week, authorities said.

PHOTOS: Syringes found inside clothes at Cartersville Walmart store

Courtney Worthington's was the first reported to the Bartow County Sheriff's Department.

In a second report, shopper Patricia Headrick of Cartersville said she was stuck by a syringe while looking at a package of bras at the same Walmart store on Black Friday. She said she had opened the package and was stuck in her right ring finger. The store's manager advised her to go to the Cartersville Medical Center where she was tested for AIDS and hepatitis.

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Headrick said she was checking for her size when she stuck her hand into the box.

"I'm thinking in my mind, you hear all the horror stories about the drug stuff; you pass out, and people can rob you," she said. "Everything started going through my mind. Whose arm was this in; whose body - was this a used needle; am I going to die based on this being in someone's body? I've been on a rollercoaster all weekend."

On Tuesday, police said the loss prevention manager of the Walmart store reported a woman who found a used or broken syringe in the pocket of some pants hanging on a rack in the womens' department of the store. That woman was not stuck by the syringe she found.

Walmart reported an additional incident last week, where another syringe was found in a pair of socks. No one was jabbed in that incident, but store personnel had not previously reported that incident to police or the public. Walmart personnel turned over the sock in a preserved state to authorities.

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According to Sgt. Jonathan Rogers of the Bartow County Sheriff's Office, management at the Walmart store said they had found syringes in other items at the store, and are investigating.

Rogers said they are going over store surveillance tapes to see if anyone can be found placing the syringes.

In a Wednesday afternoon news conference, Rogers said all the needles appeared to be the same, generic diabetic-type syringes.

Headrick says that after going to the hospital, she was told she would have to be tested again in six months to ensure she does not have hepatitis or HIV.

"It's a waiting game right now," she said. "I'm scared to death. I don't know what's going to happen. I'm shocked that someone can do this to someone. It's mean. I don't understand why someone would do this."

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Headrick said that people from the Walmart store would not talk with her about the situation any more, and that they would not pay for her medical bills relating to the incident.

"Walmart won't let me talk with them anymore. It's out of Walmart's hands now," Headrick said.

According to Headrick, Walmart says they won't pay for preventive treatment to prevent HIV. She says she has to take the medicine for the next seven days, and it's $1,300.

If the investigations finds an employee has put it in there, they will pay. If it is found to be the result of the actions of a random person, they won't pay, Headrick said.

When asked about the incidents, Walmart spokesperson Dianna Gee said that this was an isolated situation involving a single store. There have been no reports of syringes at any other store in Georgia or in the United States.

Gee said that Walmart is committed to getting to the bottom of the situation.

"Walmart has reached out to Ms. Headrick," Gee said. "If any of our customers were harmed, we will gladly pay for any valid medical expenses."

She went on to say that they have examined all the clothing in the department and have found no other syringes. Walmart security is reviewing surveillance tapes in hopes of discovering a lead or a suspect. They said that if they do, they will share that information with law enforcement.

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