Police: Man tampered with saline laxatives

Published On: Jun 28 2012 05:00:29 PM EDT   Updated On: Jun 28 2012 05:20:02 PM EDT
CVS Pharmacy
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -

Police have arrested a man they said repeatedly bought packs of enema saline laxatives from a CVS store, used them and returned them to the store.

The man, whose identity has not been released, was arrested on an unrelated outstanding warrant while investigators look into the product tampering case.

The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office is working with investigators from the Food and Drug Administration, the lead agency, in this case.

Police were called to the CVS store in the 9500 block of San Jose Boulevard the morning of June 12 when the man was arguing with a store clerk.

Police said the man had been frequenting the CVS since March and began returning the product in April. They said he would purchase a pack of enamas and return them at a later time.

CVS employees told police the items appeared to be unused, and so the store would put the box of enemas back on the shelf for resale.

Police said that on June 5, an employee thought it was strange that the same man was making returns with the same product. The employee decided to check the box after it was returned and saw all six of the enemas inside had been used and the box and been resealed so it would appear to be unopened, police said.

An employee then check the additional three boxes on the shelf and determined they had all been previously used, police said.

On June 12, the same man tried to return another box of enemas that he bought the day before, but an employee told him he could no longer take returns for the items, police said. The employee contacted his loss prevention manager and advised all the area CVS stores about what happened, police said.

CVS employees told police the man bought the enemas with a credit card one time, and that transaction and other purchase, along with the man's license plate number, led police to him, investigators said.

Police said they took samples of the fluid in the enema bottles and sent them to the Florida Department of Health for testing. Police said fecal matter was found on some of the returned bottles. They said the fecal matter was collected as evidence and submitted to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement for testing.

The man was identified and arrested.

CVS released this statement Thursday:

"Because the health and safety of our customers is our top priority, we alerted the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that as many as 12 enema packages sold at our San Jose Boulevard store in Jacksonville between April 10 and June 12 were possibly used by a customer who then returned them with resealed packaging to make the products appear unopened. Based on our own investigation and examination of our transaction records, we do not believe any other CVS stores or any other products are affected.

"We are fully cooperating with the authorities in their investigation of this matter and will work with them to assure that the individual responsible is prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

"Also, out of an abundance of caution, we are proactively contacting all 21 customers we've identified who purchased any of the potentially impacted enema products at the store within this period of time and have succeeded in reaching more than half of them. We have also placed signage in the store to direct customers who may have purchased any of the affected products to contact us immediately.

"Anyone who purchased an enema product at our San Jose Boulevard store in Jacksonville between April 10 and June 12 should contact us toll free at 1-866-559-8861 for more information."

Anyone with any information on this case is asked to call the Florida District Consumer Complaint Coordinator at 866-337-6272.