Bartow County authorities confirm reports of a 10th syringe found in a sweater purchased from Walmart during the weekend following Black Friday, and say since that incident a vendor found an 11th needle in the Cartersville store.
Earlier this week a female customer was gift wrapping the sweater and said a syringe fell out of it onto the carpet in her home, very near her toddler grandson, CBS Atlanta reports.
While Cartersville Patch has requested access to Bartow County Sheriff's Office reports detailing the latest incidents following apparent technical difficulties, The Daily Tribune News reported the woman bought the garment Nov. 25, and was not poked by the needle but reported a red mark on her arm.
Sheriff's office Public Information Officer and Investigator Sgt. Jonathan Rogers said the latest report regarding a needle found in the local Walmart of which he's aware was Dec. 20. A vendor found a syringe in the greeting cards section of the Cartersville store, marking the first time a syringe has been discovered outside the retailer's apparel and related departments.
Two Pricks to Customers, No Clues Highlight Prior Developments
Neither of those customers were pricked, but that wasn't the case with the first couple of needles found in the store's clothing. Investigators for the second time asked for the public's help identifying the person or persons responsible for hiding the syringes.
While security footage to date has revealed no leads in the case and Georgia Bureau of Investigation forensic testing failed to produce fingerprints that possibly could have been used to identify the culprit, investigators are awaiting the results of additional tests that could determine if at least three of the needles were contaminated by substances or DNA.
Following the discoveries of syringes No. 8 and 9, Walmart spokesman Dianna Gee confirmed the company's commitment to a resolution in the case and its partnership with local law enforcement to that end. She added Walmart officials "are confident" the store's reportedly extensive surveillance system will identify those responsible.
Retailers everyday watch people in their stores via cameras, loss prevention employees and other means, but Walmart was accused of taking surveillance too far several years ago with sophisticated computer systems it used to monitor critics, stockholders and even its own employees, according to an MSN Money report.
While employees have "no expectation of privacy" when using company-supplied computers or phones—and are not allowed to use personal phones while on duty—Walmart used "cutting-edge monitoring systems" to capture and record activities on its global computer network, even messages sent from employees' personal email accounts, according to the report.
While Walmart surveillance videos across the country capture incidents and crimes from shoplifting to shootings, it's unclear why nearly a month's worth of local footage has investigators at a dead end.
But that's where they stand. In hopes of getting the ball rolling, Sheriff Clark Millsap has issued two statements in which he says detectives need the public's help via tips.
Call the Bartow County Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigations Division at 770-382-5050, extensions 6029 or 6030, with any information on any of the syringe incidents or on those responsible for hiding them.
Alternately, tipsters can anonymously provide the same information by calling the Cartersville-Bartow County Crime Stoppers tip line at 770-606-TIPS (8477). Rewards are available for information that leads to an arrest in the case.