HIV Positive Shoplifter Threatens Drug Store Employees With Needles When Confronted

By @vitthernandez on
A vaccine needle is seen in a file photo
IN PHOTO: A vaccine needle is seen in a file photo Reuters/Karoly Arvai

Employees of Duane Reade, a pharmacy in Midtown, reported that a man walked into their Third Avenue outlet on Monday afternoon and placed merchandise into jacket pockets. When he was confronted by store employees, he took out needles and told them he has HIV.

He then walked out of the store and stole $180 worth of merchandise, reports the New York Post. The police described the suspect as between 30 and 35 years old.

The suspect sports a black beard and stands about 5 foot and eleven inches. He is stocky and wore a black jacket, blue jeans, work boots and carried a white hard hat.

The NYPD asked the public if they have information about the man to call its Crime Stoppers Hotline at 800-577-TIPS. They could also submit online at the Crime Stoppers Web site or text it to 274637 (CRIMES) and then enter TIP577.

According to the American Nurses Association, about 1,000 US healthcare workers experience yearly infections from accidental needlesticks pricking yearly. It exposes them to various ailments, including HIV and other blood-borne pathogens such as hepatitis B and C, gonorrhea, typhus, herpes, malaria, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, syphilis and tuberculosis, reports goaskalice.columba.edu.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration estimates that of the 800,000 injuries yearly, only 2 percent involved needles likely contaminated with HIV. Chance of HIV transmission is between 0.3 and 0.45 percent.

Given this information, if the shoplifter really had HIV, it was wise of the store employees to just let him go with the $180 worth of merchandise rather than risk themselves acquiring HIV.

To contact the writer, email: v.hernandez@ibtimes.com.au