Woman Arrested In Connection With Needles Found Inside Strawberries

Hannah Rogers
November 12, 2018

A "complex" investigation into an Australian strawberry scare where needles were found stuck into strawberries, has led to the arrest of the 50-year-old woman after the incident sparked nationwide panic.

The 50-year-old woman was charged Sunday with seven counts of contaminating goods, Queensland police said.

Officials from the strawberry association said they "have reason to suspect that a disgruntled ex-employee" of Woolworth, the supermarket where numerous affected strawberries were sold, was behind the contamination.

After news of the contamination first broke, dozens of "copycat" cases began popping up across the country, with reports of needles in strawberries, apples, oranges and even bananas emerging in every state and territory.

She was believed to have had grievances about her treatment at the farm and police will allege she had told people about exacting revenge.

The incidents prompted authorities in the Australian state of Queensland to issue a warning September 12, advising consumers to cut up the fruit.

My Ut Trinh, also known as Judy, was arrested on Sunday and charged with seven counts contamination of goods, which has a maximum 10-year prison penalty.

A police taskforce was established with officers from the State Crime Command co-ordinating the investigation together with detectives in a number of police districts in Queensland.

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She was due to appear in court Monday.

"This is a major and unprecedented police investigation with a lot of complexities involved", Mr Wacker said in a statement.

Australian strawberry exports have come under increased scrutiny after incidents which found pins and needles inserted into the fruit.

The contamination scares resulted in supermarkets pulling strawberries off the shelves, and tonnes of the fruit was dumped at the peak of the growing season.

Wacker would not comment on what Trinh's motives may have been, but said investigators had "strong evidence" including DNA.

Superintendent Wacker said the case was finally broken open upon information received by Victoria Police as part of the interstate investigation.

Funds will also be given to the Queensland Strawberry Growers Association and Growcom to distribute to affected farmers.

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