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Police using lie detector in razor food case

October 24, 2000

Police using lie detector in razor food case



By KIMBERLY YAKOWSKI / Staff Writer


Hagerstown City Police are using a polygraph to test people who had contact with a sandwich that contained pieces of razor blades at a Hagerstown restaurant in September.

Lt. Gary Spielman said Tuesday that everyone who had contact with the hamburger is being interviewed and offered the chance to take a polygraph, or lie detector test.

One person has taken the test so far, he said.

"No one is being ruled out," he said.

Although the results of lie detector tests are inadmissible in court, they can provide police with valuable leads, said Spielman.

Michael Patrick Holland, 28, cut his mouth while eating a hamburger at the McDonald's at 330 E. Washington St., on Sept. 30.

Holland has said he took two quick bites of a hamburger and noticed a sharp pain in his throat as he swallowed.

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He was briefly hospitalized at Washington County Hospital and has since recovered, Spielman said.

Spielman said police determined the pieces of metal found in the hamburger were razor blades of the type normally used for shaving.

McDonald's employees do not use razor blades at the store as part of day-to-day operations, he said.

"I haven't seen too many people shaving there," said Spielman.

Some of the 1/2-inch square pieces of metal were sharp and others were dull, he said.

"We're confident it was a razor blade," he said.

The metal found its way inside the hamburger after the meat was cooked at the Hagerstown McDonald's, he said.

Spielman said police were continuing to talk with employees, Holland, and his grandmother, who was with him at the fast-food restaurant.

None of the employees who worked that day has been fired, said Spielman.

"Everyone's being cooperative. There's nothing to indicate that it was anything but an isolated incident," said Spielman.

No other food was found to have been tampered with and no other diners have reported finding metal in their food, he said.

In a statement faxed Tuesday, store owner Mark Levine said, "We have absolutely no reason to believe that the incident has anything to do with my restaurant or our employees. Food safety is always a top priority with McDonald's.

"It would be irresponsible for us to speculate on the facts of this case - and the experts at the police department are continuing to perform a fact-based investigation," Levine said.

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