Banana containing needle falsely claimed to have been purchased at No Frills, police say

In March 2009, a 42-year-old woman inserted sewing needles into 12 packages of Schneiders and Maple Leaf meat products. Mastoora Qezil, who had been terminated a day earlier from her job at Maple Leaf Foods, eventually pleaded guilty to common nuisance and was sentenced to 18 months of house arrest. Last October, a silver pin was discovered in a package of sausage purchased from the same store. That matter remains under investigation.

The Guelph Mercury
July 14, 2010

Banana containing needle falsely claimed to have been purchased at No Frills, police say
Scott Tracey

NoFrills.jpeg

A woman walks past a Guelph Police cruiser as she leaves Roy's No Frills in Willow West Mall Tuesday. Scott Tracey, Guelph Mercury

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GUELPH — City police are looking for a man who falsely claimed he had bought a banana containing a needle at a city grocery store.

Police report a man in dark dress pants and shirt showed up at Roy’s No Frills inside Willow West Mall Monday, claiming he had bought the banana in the store a day earlier and then discovered a sewing needle inserted into it.

“He said he didn’t have time to stick around and he left,” Sgt. Doug Pflug said.

Officials at the store notified police and removed the remaining bananas from the produce shelves.

“No Frills is obviously co-operating with us and have taken steps to protect public safety,” Pflug said.

The produce had been replaced with new stock by Tuesday morning.

But later Tuesday, police issued a second press release stating their investigation had revealed the fruit was not purchased at the Silvercreek Parkway store.

Cst. Brian Welsh, the investigating officer, would not reveal how police eliminated No Frills as the source “but we know it wasn’t purchased there. We’re satisfied at this point it was not purchased at that store.”

He said police have many unanswered questions, including whether the banana was contaminated at another store and then mistakenly returned to No Frills or whether it was intended to appear the fruit had come from that store.
“The possibilities at this point are wide open,” Welsh said. “We’d obviously like to speak to the individual that brought it in.”

A store manager on Tuesday refused to comment on the matter while the Guelph Police investigation is ongoing.

Similar items were found in products from the store twice last year.

In March 2009, a 42-year-old woman inserted sewing needles into 12 packages of Schneiders and Maple Leaf meat products. Mastoora Qezil, who had been terminated a day earlier from her job at Maple Leaf Foods, eventually pleaded guilty to common nuisance and was sentenced to 18 months of house arrest.

Last October, a silver pin was discovered in a package of sausage purchased from the same store. That matter remains under investigation.

No Frills shoppers vowed Tuesday to stand by their neighbourhood store, even before it was revealed the tainted banana had not been sold there.

“It has nothing to do with No Frills,” said Damien Smith as he left the store with a full shopping cart, including bananas. “It’s obviously some individual with a troubled mind … but it could happen at Food Basics or Zehr’s or anywhere.”

Jackie Beaton heard about the incident on the radio before heading to the store Tuesday morning and said it did not dissuade her.

“It doesn’t worry me,” she said. “It could happen anywhere.”

“I don’t understand why someone would do something like that,” said Lynda Jamieson as she loaded groceries into the back of her van. “What if that was fed to a child?”

Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call Cst. Brian Welsh at 824-1212, ext. 345 of Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.

http://news.guelphmercury.com/News/article/661091


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