EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

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February 6, 2013

Shoplifting suspect wielded hypodermic needle

SALEM — Police yesterday issued an arrest warrant for Victor Garcia, 32, of Lawrence, one of two suspects in an attempted theft at Lowe’s on South Broadway yesterday morning.

The other suspect, who has not been identified, allegedly wielded a hypodermic needle and threatened a store loss prevention officer with it.

The man waved the syringe at him “in an aggressive and menacing manner,” Deputy police Chief Shawn Patten said.

The suspect yelled, “I have AIDS,” several times, according to police.

At that point, the store security guard backed off and the two men fled the store.

Patten said the employee acted appropriately.

“The loss prevention associate did the right thing by backing off and letting them go,” Patten said. “We’re fairly confident both subjects will be taken into custody.”

He said store employees were able to get the license plate from the getaway car and the images from store surveillance cameras should help police identify the second suspect.

Garcia is wanted for criminal liability of conduct of another, felony theft and breach of bail conditions, Patten said.

The breach of bail charge is the result of Garcia’s arrest in Salem Jan. 23 for willful concealment in another shoplifting incident, Patten said.

The second suspect will face felony robbery charges and likely criminal threatening charges, too, for waving the syringe, Patten said.

The men were trying to steal saw blades, he said. They fled in a 2001 Nissan Maxima with Massachusetts license plates 3PVF20.

Salem police contacted both Methuen and Lawrence police after they identified Garcia as one of the suspects.

While unusual, using a syringe as a weapon isn’t unheard of in Salem.

“We’ve had it happen here before,” Patten said.

The case remains under investigation.

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