After a 12-year-old girl recently admitted to strategically placing sewing needles inside of strawberries, a string of copycats worldwide has begun to surface!
Mega-retailer Woolworths took the precautionary step of withdrawing sewing needles from its shelves nationwide following the fruit tampering crisis, News.com.au reports.
“We’ve taken the precautionary step of temporarily removing sewing needles from sale in our stores. The safety of our customers is our top priority,” a Woolworths spokeswoman said.
Woolworths took the extra step after police across the country began to investigate more than 100 reports of tampered fruit. Many of the cases are said to be fake or copycats of a 12-year-old girl who recently admitted to inserting needles into strawberries.
The girl reportedly placed the needle inside a strawberry and showed it to friends at her school in the NSW Blue Mountains, The Daily Telegraph reported. After one student told the teachers, the police were called.
Police interviewed the girl at her home where she eventually confessed.
“Obviously, in the last few days we found a young person has admitted to a prank, including putting needles in strawberries,” the police commissioner told reporters in Sydney.
Smith said the child would be dealt with under the youth cautioning system, News.com.au reports. He added that the behavior could be “called a prank”, but warned that any copycat cases would be investigated.
“What we’ve seen in the state (of NSW) we believe is the work of copycats and pranksters, we’ve got to deal with it though, the way we deal with any crime,” he said.
Tasmania Police are also investigating two more claims of contaminated fruit being sold in Woolworths stores in the Hobart area. A report of a metal object found in a strawberry at Kingston was reported to police around 6pm on Tuesday. In another incident, police were called after a needle measuring about 2cm long, was allegedly found in a strawberry being eaten by a two-year-old child.
“We can’t confirm at this stage that the alleged contamination is linked to the Queensland incident but there is no evidence to suggest it is a hoax,” Detective Acting Inspector David Richardson said.
The two incidents come after a primary school student in Newcastle in NSW discovered a needle inside a banana that was packed in their lunch box on Tuesday.
According to News.com.au, mass harvests of fruit have been dumped as prices continue to plunge, consumer demands decrease, and products are being snatched from shelves.
A police operation involving 100 officers across multiple states is now underway to hunt down those responsible, News.com.au reports.
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