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FBI: Ronald Avers, 68, Hid Needles in Packaged Meat at Belleville Grocery "For the Hell Of It"

usdagovmeat.jpg
USDAgov via Flickr
It's like finding a needle in a haystack, but with meat.
For fourteen months, an elderly Illinois man has been sticking sewing needles into packaged meat at a Belleville, Illinois, Shop 'n Save, according to FBI investigators.

Ronald Avers, 68, was jailed without bond Thursday on seven counts of tampering with meat. Each charge is punishable by up to ten years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

FBI investigators busted Avers in the parking lot of the Shop 'n Save, where they found an open package of needles in his Ford F250 pickup truck with a Illinois disabled veteran license plate. Avers first told police he used the needles to sew up tears in his pants when he goes camping, according to court documents.

But when investigators pressed him about the grocery store meat, he admitted to sticking a few needles where they didn't belong.

"Every now and then, I would stick one in a hamburger...mostly hamburger, a couple times I did it with a roast, maybe a pork chop every now and then," Avers told police, according to court documents.

See also: Murdered Over Pork Steaks: John Cunningham Found Guilty of Manslaughter

Avers, who uses a motorized scooter and a portable oxygen tank, says he would hide the needle in his oxygen-tank holder, enter the North Belt West Road store and insert the needle into some meat.

"It was stupidity, I didn't want to hurt nobody." Avers told police, according to court documents. He added that he knew hiding needles in meat was a "stupid idea," and that he did it "for the hell of it."

At least one customer reported being stuck in the mouth and one in the hand by needles hidden in packaged meat from the Belleville store. Six customers and an employee reported finding needles in meat over the last fourteen months, according to court documents:
- A customer with the initials K.C. found a needle in a package of ground beef bought in May 2013.
- A Shop 'n Save employee found a needle sticking out of a package of pork chops in September 2013.
- A customer with the initials C.T. found a needle in a package of ground beef in October 2013.
- L.T. found a needle in her mouth while eating boneless chuck roast purchased from the store in January 2014.
- L.M. found a needle in a roast purchased in March 2014.
- J.B. was stuck in the hand by a needle in a steak purchased in June 2014.
- G.S. reported finding a needle in pork steaks purchased in July 2014.

Grocery security used surveillance cameras to find out who was leaving needles in the meat. They identified an elderly man in a motorized scooter carrying an oxygen tank who would manipulate packaged meat on several different occasions without actually buying any. When that suspect, later identified as Avers, came to the store on July 29, law enforcement arrived and searched his car, finding the needles.

Avers told police he only tampered with meat at the Belleville store.

Avers has a hearing in front of U.S. Magistrate Judge Stephen C. Williams Monday morning.

Follow Lindsay Toler on Twitter at @StLouisLindsay. E-mail the author at Lindsay.Toler@RiverfrontTimes.com.

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60 comments
Gary Berry
Gary Berry

What was he thinking and what did he hope to gain by taking the chance to hurt innocent people?

Phil Borthacyre
Phil Borthacyre

Maybe we should just kick the living shit out of him.........just for the hell of it

Dahmen Piotraschke
Dahmen Piotraschke

Union meatcutter locall 88...hard to fire but this long criminal behavior ...get your heads out of the mud Union.

Amy Smith
Amy Smith

Not for a year! I mean I'm use to the shards of bone going through my gums now that your gone .. I still buy from Kericks unless our meats on sale.

Amy Smith
Amy Smith

Kyle Norris Whhhhaaaaaattt You didn't tell me?

Jodi Fox
Jodi Fox

Send him off to Shady Pines!!!!

Kyle Norris
Kyle Norris

Think about this shop and save knew for over a year that their meat might have needles in it...and they didn't say a word to the public...400+ days they opened the doors and sold people meat that might or might not have a needle in it.....shame on them

Jason M Parker
Jason M Parker

Matt Cook. You are being satirical right? He could have injured or killed seven people. Animal abuse is unjust but humans come first

Matt Cook
Matt Cook

"Ronald Avers, 68, was jailed without bond Thursday on seven counts of tampering with meat. Each charge is punishable by up to ten years in prison and a $250,000 fine." Wait... Seriously? First time animal abuse is a misdemeanor.. "tampering with meat" is 10 fucking years?

Steve Mincer
Steve Mincer

you can only play so much bingo i guess.

Emmasmom Dunne
Emmasmom Dunne

I don't care now disabled he is. He can go to jail!

LJ Schanz
LJ Schanz

OMG!!! This is where I shop!~ I have meat in the freezer from there now.S.O.B.

Patricia Powell
Patricia Powell

Honestly that is crap on everyones part .... No public announcement or warning and its been going on all that time. Now that is a law suit for a good reason. How many could have been prevented. Let me guess no one said anything " for the hell of it!"

Kenneth Lane
Kenneth Lane

Guess we need video monitoring of shoppers??

Kenneth Lane
Kenneth Lane

Shopping has become gambling and that's just sad!

Linda White
Linda White

Good luck to him in prison with his scooter and oxygen tank dependent 68-year-old self. What a way to spend his golden years!

bonbonetti
bonbonetti

I bet he does this to Halloween candy for trick-or-treaters, too. 

animekitten
animekitten

I honestly wouldn't be surprised if he does this to Halloween candy for trick-or-treaters too. 

Rose Mueller
Rose Mueller

He is one crazy asshole sounds like he is mentally ill put him away

Shannon Settlemoir
Shannon Settlemoir

I would kill whomever did that. Leave it to a guy on oxygen. What an asshole!

Tony Tone Cina
Tony Tone Cina

This is BEYOND MEGATHUNDER FUCKED UUUUUUP!!!!!!!!!

Greg Hall
Greg Hall

This guy shouldn't be walking around, out in the open.

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