Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Shopper Puts Mothballs In Soup

AUSTIN, Texas -- A woman is accused of dropping mothballs into a vat of soup at an Austin grocery store deli.

Lea Suzan Sechler, 44, faces a felony charge of tampering with a consumer product. She was released on bail after her arrest Thursday.

Sechler had been a regular customer at the Randall's supermarket where at least three times customers and employees noticed the soup had the scent of mothballs.

Randalls Food Markets said no illnesses related to the tainted soup were reported.

The second time the soup smelled like mothballs, a manager sent the batch for testing. It tested positive for dichlorobenzene, a primary ingredient in many mothballs and a chemical that can contribute to a range of ailments.

Management at the supermarket then installed surveillance cameras near the soup station and had employees check on it regularly. Police said surveillance video showed Sechler opening a vat of soup at the cart before it started to smell for the third time.

Investigators tracked Sechler through a store savings card she used at the store.

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press.

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