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Friday, May 24, 2013

Razor Blades in Doughnuts: Utah Couple Try to Pull Off Product Liability Scam

     Michael Condor and his girlfriend Carol Leazer-Hardman worked at a Dollar Tree store in a shopping plaza in Draper, Utah, a town of 40,000 midway between Salt Lake City and Provo. On March 6, 3013, Condor called the Draper Police Department to report that he and his 39-year-old girlfriend had discovered fingernail-sized pieces of razor blade in doughnuts they had eaten. One of their fellow Dollar Tree employees, while chewing on one of the doughnuts the couple had brought to the store, cut her mouth on a razor blade shard. Because the fellow-worker didn't swallow the blade fragment, she escaped serious injury.

     Hospital X-rays revealed that Leazer-Hardman and her 35-year-old boyfriend had each swallowed a piece of razor blade. (I can't find any information regarding their medical status, or if the razor blade pieces they had swallowed have been surgically removed.)

     Condor and Leazer-Hardman informed the police they had purchased the deadly doughnuts at Smith's Food & Drug Store located in the same shopping plaza as the Dollar Tree store. Once notified of the razor blade scraps, Smith's Food & Drug pulled the tamper-proof-packaged doughnuts off their shelves.

     Detectives faced the challenge of determining how the razor blade fragments found their way into the doughnuts. These foreign objects had either gotten into the product at the out-of-town bakery prior to packaging, or had been inserted afterward by someone at the retail location. Given the tamper-proof nature of the packaging, the latter scenario seemed unlikely.

     Condor and Leazer-Hardman, upon being questioned separately by detectives, confessed to placing the sharp objects into the doughnuts. Desperate for money to get out of debt, they had concocted the harebrained scheme in an effort to acquire a civil suit settlement from Smith's Food & Drug Store.

     A Salt Lake City prosecutor charged the couple with aggravated assault and filing a false police report. I presume they are no longer working at the Dollar Tree.

     While I find this case fascinating, local media reportage of the doughnut tampering scam was thin and mediocre. In my view, people who would risk their lives and the life on an innocent victim pursuant to a shake-down swindle are worthy of study. Who was the mastermind behind this potentially homicidal plot? Do the suspects have histories of fraud and other larceny related crimes? Are these people sociopathic, drug-addled, crazy, or simply stupid? Where are the crime reporters? 

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