PD: Vitamin bottles filled with Rx meds, cat food

An image of one of the tampered items. (Courtesy Portage police - Aug. 20, 2014)

PORTAGE, Mich. (WOOD) – Police are investigating after someone tampered with packages of over-the-counter vitamins purchased at Meijer and then returned them filled with items ranging from cat food to prescription medication.

Portage police and the Kalamazoo County Sheriff’s Office began to investigate Wednesday after Meijer Inc. reported that someone was buying packages of vitamins and then returning them to the store after switching the contents and resealing the packages, according to a release from the Portage Department of Public Safety.

Vitamins that were tampered with and brought back to Meijer in Portage. (Aug, 20, 2014)
(Vitamins that were tampered with and brought back to Meijer in Portage. (Aug, 20, 2014)

“I think they bought them took them home and for whatever reason switched out what was inside it. We’re not sure if they returned them to the customer service desk or the individual put them back on the shelves themselves,” Portage Department of Public Safety Detective Dereck Hess said.

The suspect refilled some of the bottles with other vitamins, filled others with prescription medications like Sotalol – which is prescribed for irregular heartbeat – or Coumadin – a blood thinner that prevents blood clots from forming or worsening – or items including chocolate chips, candy, cat food and 800mg Ibuprofen, a release from PDPS said.

“The one listed for the heart medication was an uncontrolled heartbeat or something along those lines, so it could potentially be fatal,” Hess said.

But as of Wednesday, no one had reported getting sick.

“I can’t think why a person would put prescription pills on a shelf for an innocent person to take,” Hess said.

Some of the bottles in the altered packages were the original vitamin bottles, investigators said. In other cases, the suspect used non-labeled prescription bottles that had been painted black.

Investigators said the main vitamin that had been tampered with was Mega Red Ultra Strength Omega-3 Krill Oil.

Meijer notified all of its stores and employees have checked the shelves and removed anything that looks suspicious, police said. PDPS is checking with other stores in the area that sell vitamins to make them aware of the situation.

Police are asking anyone who has purchased OTC medications or vitamins to double check the contents of their packaging. Anyone who has a package that was tampered with should call the store where the package was purchased to report the issue.

Police say they have a suspect, who they believe may have mental health issue.

Anyone with information in the case should call PDPS at 269.329.4567 or contact Silent Observer at 269.343.2100 or www.kalamazoosilentobserver.com.

24 Hour News 8’s Heather Walker contributed to this report.

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