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Police are trying to identify the man in this photo, who they say threatened a loss-prevention worker with a hypodermic needle after being confronted about a theft at Lowe's in Salem. COURTESY 

Salem police seek man who threatened store worker with syringe

SALEM - Police are searching for a man who attempted to steal a variety of saw blades from a Lowe's store but fended off loss-prevention workers with a hypodermic needle by exclaiming, "I have AIDS."

Police said two men entered the Route 28 store about 10 a.m. Tuesday and were soon confronted by loss-prevention workers about the theft. Once the unidentified man took the hypodermic needle from his pocket and began yelling, loss-prevention workers let him go. The man acted aggressively toward the worker and yelled, "I have AIDS" several times before fleeing from the store, police said.

The men sped off in a 2001 Nissan Maxima with Massachusetts registration 3PVF20, police said.

Detectives have identified one of the suspects as Victor Garcia, 32, of Lawrence, Mass., but are seeking the public's help identifying the second suspect through store surveillance footage. Police say an arrest warrant for Garcia will be forthcoming.

The duo is suspected of carrying out similar thefts at area Lowe's stores in Massachusetts and New Hampshire, police said. Salem officers who responded to the scene called Methuen and Lawrence, Mass., police departments to be on the lookout for the vehicle.

Salem police say they arrested Garcia last month for a similar theft.

A store surveillance photo released by Salem police shows the unidentified man wearing a dark-colored jacket and baseball cap and a red and black checkered scarf.

Lowe's loss-prevention staff told police they believe the two men are responsible for similar thefts at area stores based on information they've collected. The men are expected to face felony theft charges.

Anyone with information about the case can call tips in to Salem police at 893-1911, or anonymously through Crimeline of Southern New Hampshire at 893-6600.

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