Walmart customer poked with needle inside toilet paper dispenser | KOB 4

Walmart customer poked with needle inside toilet paper dispenser

Joy Wang
August 15, 2018 11:06 AM

GALLUP, N.M. – There’s only one Walmart in Gallup, New Mexico.


In fact, it’s the only Walmart for 50 miles. As a result, hundreds, even thousands of people pass through every day.

Richard Werner was recently one of those thousands of everyday customers.

“August 9th. I jumped off the bus to do a transfer. Had to use the restroom at Walmart here in Gallup, New Mexico,” Werner said.

Little did he know that he'd end up with this little wound that's led to bigger problems.

“Went in to do my business and when I reached up to get tissue paper to wipe, basically I got stuck by a dirty needle,” Werner said.

He snapped photos of the bathroom.

“At first I thought maybe there was some plastic or something. Kind of sharp teeth down there to rip the toilet paper off," he said. "And then I was like, 'What the heck, I'm bleeding,' and there was that needle sticking out."

So he told a manager, made a report in store, went to the emergency room and filed a police report, too.

“There's fear. There's concern. But my biggest concern is if that needle got me, what type of disease am I going to have?" Werner asked. "Is it something I have to take medication for the rest of my life?"

Walmart sent a statement following Werner's accident:

“We’re appalled someone would do this in our store. We take the matter seriously and immediately checked the area after being notified and found no other foreign objects. We appreciate the customer bringing it to our attention and are always working to provide a safe and enjoyable shopping experience.”

“The bathroom was filthy," Werner said. "There was tissue on the ground. Trash can dispensers were full of paper. Didn't look like anyone had cleaned it."

He thinks more could have been done. Instead, he has to take prescription medication for the next month because of the risks associated with that dirty needle.

“It's anti-viral for HIV, and they say the faster you get that medication, your benefits are better. And when I went to get it filled with my insurance at Walgreens here in Gallup, they stated I needed to pay like $1,005 for it. So I couldn't get it,” Werner said. “I haven't gotten it; been too expensive.”

He expects even more tests and hospital visits in the future, and he's hoping no one else got hurt and the person responsible eventually gets arrested.

“It's not fun to ruin someone else's life over your drug problem or whatever's going on,” Werner said. “It’s 2018. There is a big drug problem. I mean it doesn't matter where you live—small, little town or big city.”

A GoFundMe has been set up to help pay for Werner's medication and medical bills. 


Joy Wang

Copyright 2018 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

Comment on Facebook

Share 4 - News Tips - Photos - Videos
  Share a News Tip, Story Idea, Photo, Video


Relay Media Amp



Rape kit from 2009 identifies serial rapist as suspect

NMSP sergeant taken to hospital following crash that left 1 dead

'Take a Ride on Us' offers Uber discount for Halloween

Republicans want state budget surplus returned to taxpayers

New Mexico to get an early taste of winter