WATCH: Victoria police are investigating after a three-year-old was pricked with a needle from a syringe in a McDonald’s restaurant on Pandora Avenue. April Lawrence reports.
A family was at the McDonald’s restaurant at 980 Pandora Avenue Monday afternoon when their three-year-old was pricked by a needle from a syringe.
“The child began crying then they noticed the syringe which of course caused them concern so reported it to us and took their child to the hospital,” said Victoria Police Const. Matt Rutherford.
McDonald’s has issued a statement from franchise owner Wayne Krawchuk:
“As the owner of a local family-friendly business, I am treating this incident with the utmost priority and taking the situation very seriously. We have spoken with the family involved, and are also working closely with the local police. Given the on-going police investigation, I can?t provide any additional comments.”
The Mcdonald’s at 980 Pandora Avenue is on a block of downtown Victoria known for open drug use.
“Usually most of the people you see in here are users, for example, I just ran into a girl I’m pretty sure is in trouble in the bathroom right now, it’s a regular occurrence unfortunately because we don’t have a solution to the problem,” said McDonald’s customer Natasha Henderson.
Those who run Our Place Society across the street say three needle sweeps are done in the area every day.
“I’m just horrified to know that that happened in our community,” said Our Place Executive Director Don Evans.
“We’re going to increase our sweeps and do more to prevent it from happening but at the end of the day we have to help get people off drugs.”
Police aren’t saying where in the restaurant the child was pricked by the needle but they are investigating to see if it was put their maliciously.
“Our investigation is in the early stages including retrieving video, talking to witnesses try to find out exactly what transpired,” said Rutherford.
While police say being punctured by a discarded needle is extremely rare, in June a security guard found one taped to a handrail in a downtown parkade and in November, an uncapped syringe was found in a parking ticket dispenser.
While workers do their best to keep them off the street, Evans says what’s really needed is more treatment programs.
“You can put extra needle boxes out or open up overdose prevention sites but if we don’t get people off drugs the risk is still there for the community,” he said.