A 68-year-old man is being held without bond for allegedly putting sewing needles into packages of meat that were sold at an Illinois grocery stone.
Ronald Avers, who uses a scooter to get around and carries a portable oxygen tank, allegedly put needles into packaged meat at a Belleville Shop ‘n Save supermarket seven times between May 2013 and July 2014, but the store didn't reach out to authorities until July 9, according to reports citing court documents.
When arrested, Avers allegedly had an open package of needles in his pickup truck which he claimed he used to sew his pants, AP reported. He eventually confessed to the tampering, telling investigators he did it “just for the hell of it,” The Smoking Gun reported.
"It was stupidity. I didn't want to hurt nobody," Avers reportedly told police.
The Belleville News-Democrat reports that at least one person was injured and another found needles in her mouth while eating.
"Every now and then I would stick one in a hamburger," FBI Special Agent Daniel Cook quoted Avers as saying, according to the newspaper. "Mostly hamburger, a couple of times I did it with a roast, maybe a pork chop every now and then."
One tampered package was spotted by store employees, the newspaper stated, and six others were reported by customers.
"With every customer that brought it to our attention, none reported needing medical attention as a result of the tampering," Jeff Swanson, spokesman for the SuperValu, which owns Shop ‘n Save, told The Associated Press. "We have no reason to believe any tampering occurred outside of that one store."
Avers is charged with seven counts of tampering and faces up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine on each count.
He has a hearing on Monday.
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