POULSBO — Approximately $19,000 of meat products were removed from shelves at the Poulsbo Walmart after a syringe was discovered inserted into a sausage Friday, Oct. 25.
A customer found the syringe in the sausage around 6 a.m. and quickly reported it to a store employee. Another meat package nearby also appeared to have a hole punctured in it.
The inspecting officer did not believe the syringe was used. It appeared dry and otherwise unused.
The store removed all the products from its meat section.
"All the meat was removed, the whole refrigerated section," said Dianna Gee, a corporate Walmart spokesperson.
"Beef, poultry, deli, all the meat was removed out of caution," she said. "Even though we have no reason to believe any customers were impacted by this."
Gee said that the stores security video was reviewed, as well as sales data, and it is not believed that any customers left the store with meat from the morning of the incident.
Walmart reported that the food loss is calculated at $19,078.31, according to the report. That number does not reflect the labor costs associated with emptying, disinfecting and restocking the meat department. The removed food was stored in a trailer for an insurance adjuster to inspect.
Walmart employees discovered numerous other packages with holes punctured in them after the area was taped off and all 80-feet of the meat section —with four to five rows of products — was emptied and disinfected.
A 33-year-old Kingston man was arrested over the weekend in relation to the incident.
The suspect was identified on the store's security footage. He is allegedly visable on the footage at 12:52 a.m. walking along the meat display and handling sausages at the exact place the syringe was found. The man did not leave with any meat.
A woman accompanied the man into the store. She is seen on the footage walking around the store for an hour, allegedly concealing merchandise in her purse. She later removed the items from her purse, found her companion asleep near the Subway within the store, and the two left.
Store cameras also caught the pair leaving in a black sedan. More syringes were found where the car was parked in the lot.
Upon further investigation, Poulsbo police were able to put names to the suspects. An officer encountered the two asleep in their car in the parking lot of the nearby Central Market later that morning. Police on Bainbridge Island encountered the male subject on Winslow Way earlier in the week. Officers report the suspect admitted to having a "serious daily heroin habit" during their contact with him, according to a Poulsbo police report.
Poulsbo Chief Alan Townsend noted that the man could be charged with a class B felony for placing a harmful object in food.