Snacks & Candy

Incident at On The Run

Mesa, Ariz., c-store, closed temporarily due to contamination threat, has reopened

MESA, Ariz. -- Exxon Mobil Corp.released amedia advisorylate Wednesday that it was working with the Mesa, Ariz., Police Department, which was investigating reports of possible food contamination at a Mobil On The Run convenience store that may have occurred on Tuesday, April 17, 2007.

A clerk informed police that four teenage boys entered the store about 7 p.m. Tuesday and brought a box of candy bars to the counter that had a syringe in it, Mesa Police Detective Johnny Lopez told The Arizona Republic.

As a precautionary measure [image-nocss] for the safety of employees and customers, and to facilitate the police investigation, the store was temporarily closed. Exxon Mobil spokesperson Paula Chen told CSP Daily News that the store reopened around 7 p.m. Wednesday night.

She referred all other questions to the police, but said, we're very thankful to the authorities and the work that they did on site, and we're thankful that it ended up being no threat to the public health.

The police did not identify the substance in the syringe or whether it was injected into the food; however, KVTK-TV reported that Michael Murphy from the Department of Health confirmed for the news outlet that there was residue of methamphetamine found. Murphy said the department is not considering this a health hazard because there is no evidence of an ejection into the candy.

Police also said that they are not sure how long the syringe may have been in the box. They are not releasing the type of candy the syringe was found with, but they do know that there were no sales of that particular brand within the previous 24 hours, according to store records.

Police are looking at surveillance tapes for clues as to when the syringe may have been left behind. They also are trying to find the individuals who notified the clerk of the syringe, though they are not suspects, Lopez told the paper. Lopez said that so far, there is no evidence to suggest tampering of the candy.

He would neither confirm nor deny the presence of meth for CSP Daily News, citing the ongoing investigation. He also denied an earlier report that a man was seen injecting something into the candy. But he said they are investigating leads into the criminal aspects of the incident and are looking at suspects. "There are certain people that we are looking into," he said.

Mesa Police were urging anyone who bought items Tuesday evening to bring them to the police department for inspection. Anyone with information was being asked to call the police at (480) 644-2211.

The store is conducting an internal investigation to determine the reason why police were not notified until 9:15 Wednesday morning, said the report.

ExxonMobil will continue to work cooperatively with the police in their investigation, the company said inthe media advisory.

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