Ronald Avers, 68, does not exactly cut the image of a major felon in his motorized scooter with the portable oxygen tank at the Shop ‘n Save store in Belleville, Illinois. However, when sewing needles (not the ones shown) were found in packaged meat, security noticed that Avers was on camera handling meats that he did not buy. At least two people were injured when eating the meat and Avers later said that he did it “just for the hell of it.” He was appropriated arrested by Special Agent Cook.
One person bit into one of the needles in a boneless chuck while the other was stuck when eating a steak. Avers faces seven tampering counts each punishable by up to 10 years in prison and $250,000 fine. Notably, an argument could be made for consecutive sentencing on such counts since he is accused of returning seven times to insert needles.
FBI Special Agent Daniel Cook first started to investigate when someone found a needle in ground beef. Months later, a needle was found by a worker sticking out of a pork chop. Customers then started reporting needles. That is when Avers was spotted on video cameras handling the meats. When he agreed to allow his truck to be searched, police found an open package of sewing needles. He is quoted as saying “‘Every now and then I would stick one in a hamburger. Mostly hamburger, a couple of times I did it with a roast, maybe a pork chop every now and then.'” He later said it was done “just for the hell of it” and “It was stupidity. I didn’t want to hurt nobody.”
The combination of sticking needles in meat and not wanting “to hurt nobody” is a bizarre as the image of his menace zipping around the Shop ‘n Save in his needle-laden scooter.