Police seaching for person of interest in vitamin tampering

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - There is a news alert for those who may have recently bought over-the-counter vitamins in West Michigan.

Investigators say they now have a person of interest they're searching for at this hour.

They say he is replacing the pills with cat food, chocolate, and even prescription blood thinners.

It has happened at every Meijer store in Kalamazoo County.

Undersheriff Paul Matyas advises people to check their medicine cabinets, and make sure you don't find anything suspicious in the bottles.

Newschannel 3 looked into the latest developments, and spoke with a pharmacist about the dangers of swallowing some of those other pills.

The situation has medical professionals very concerned about people who may be buying the vitamins for the very first time, and may not realize something is wrong.

So far, no one has been injured, but police are trying to get ahead of the situation, because if someone were to still be taking a tampered medication, it could turn into an even more dangerous situation.

Law enforcement officials say they still don't know all of the stores the person may have hit, but they have confirmed that all four Meijer stores in Kalamazoo County are affected, in addition to a report that a Meijer in Plainwell may also have had pills tampered with by the same person.

His name is not being released at this point.

Investigators found through surveillance video that the suspect's main target is Mega Red Ultra Strength Omega 3 Krill Oil, with pills being replaced with random items.

Most concerning to police and medical professionals is that some of them have been found replaced with prescription blood thinners and heart medications.

Kalamazoo pharmacist Michael Michutka says if the average person takes one or two, it likely won't hurt you, but it could make you very sick.

"If they don't need them, they can have bleeding events, such as bleeding into the stomach, urinating blood, or coughing up blood, and what we worry the most about is bleeding into the brain," he said.

A spokesperson for Meijer says they are working with law enforcement regarding the situation, and that anyone who feels uncomfortable with anything purchased at their stores can return it for a full refund.

Newschannel 3 will stay with the case and be on top of the latest developments.