[Update at 0823 on Tuesday, 17 March: A 25-year-old Muncie man is suspected of leaving a backpack containing a mobile meth lab inside a Wal-Mart restroom last week. The Indiana State Police says Tyler Armstrong was arrested Monday night.] I don't usually write about crimes at Walmart for two reasons. First, I'm much more interested in crimes---both statutory and ethical---committed by Walmart, than I am those committed at Walmart; and second, the crimes at Walmart get reported because of name recognition and, by default, a lot of people visit Walmart stores daily. So, I have resisted commenting on the now ubiquitous meth lab in the bathroom story which has blown up my Google Alert box (including stories from the other side of the pond). For anyone living under a a rock here is the gist of the story from the The Star Press:
Methamphetamine has reared its ugly head again, this time in the restroom of a Muncie Walmart store. An employee of the Walmart at 1501 E. 29th St. alerted police officers at the store about 11:30 p.m. Thursday after noticing a suspicious man with a backpack. That man apparently entered the men's restroom at the front of the store and later emerged without the backpack. According to an Indiana State Police press release, the backpack was found to contain a meth lab - a term applied by law enforcement not only to facilities used to produce meth, but to smaller items, such as two-liter soft-drink bottles, frequently used to mix the contents used in meth "cooking." Discovery of such small "labs" has become an almost routine - if potentially dangerous - occurrence for police over the past two years. Members of an ISP meth suppression team were called to the store to remove the potentially dangerous chemicals. That restroom---and a nearby women's restroom---were closed by Delaware County Health Department inspectors until they could be "decontaminated" by a professional cleaning firm, according to an ISP press release.
What makes this story different is that the crime presents a public hazard to life and limb because meth labs blow up.
The ISP release said meth cooks "are now often leaving behind the deadly explosive chemicals in public places to return later to get the finished product," rather than risk explosions and contamination of their own homes.
Kudos to the Walmart employee who spotted the activity. Walmart owes the worker a bonus and a raise. Jeff Hess: Have Coffee Will Write.

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