New Jersey 7-Eleven owner sold homemade hand sanitizer that burned 4 kids amid coronavirus scare
She has been arrested for endangering the welfare of children
NEW JERSEY: A 47-year-old owner of a 7-Eleven in New Jersey has been arrested for endangering the welfare of children after she sold a homemade sanitizing spray that burned the hands of four children, according to authorities.
The owner, identified as Manisha Bharade, was issued a summon on charges of endangering the welfare of children and deceptive business practices. Bharade, amid the coronavirus scare, attempted to make a few extra bucks by mixing foaming sanitizer not intended for resale with water and then packaging the mixture in bottles for sale.
New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal, in a statement, said: "Let me be perfectly clear: If you try to take advantage of our residents during a public health emergency, we will hold you accountable. Retailers who try to make a quick buck by exploiting others will face civil and criminal consequences."
Bharade's dangerous concoction resulted in chemical burns in at least four young boys, three 10-year-olds and an 11-year-old, Grewal and Bergen County Prosecutor Mark Musella revealed. Authorities were alerted of the bogus products when the affected children's parents took to social media to share the grievance, according to River Vale police.
One of the affected children also suffered burns on his arms and legs. One of the 10-year-old victims is expected to recover completely after being discharged from hospital, while the other three boys reportedly suffered less severe burns, according to WABC.
Authorities said a total of 14 bottles were sold to customers, five of which have been turned over to the police. Experts are conducting additional tests on the product to determine what chemicals were used to formulate the sanitizer.
Police, however, do not believe that the 47-year-old tried to hurt anyone intentionally by selling the products. “She wasn’t trying to make a lot of money and obviously didn’t mean to hurt anybody. But she’s no chemist," law enforcement official said.
River Vale police Lt John DeVoe on Monday said: "While further investigation is underway, our first priority is to make the public aware that they should not use this item if they purchased it at the River Vale 7-Eleven. As far as we know, this issue is limited to the River Vale store at this time.”
Any customer who bought a bottle of the sanitizer from the particular 7-Eleven is advised to call River Vale police at (201) 664-1111.