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Arrest made in needle threat

SALEM - Police have arrested a Lawrence, Mass., man identified as the shoplifter who threatened loss prevention workers on Tuesday with a hypodermic needle and claimed he had AIDS as he tried to steal a variety of saw blades from a Lowe's store.

Victor Deleon, 39, was apprehended in Lawrence, Mass., on Wednesday in connection with an armed robbery charge filed against him by Salem police.

His alleged partner, Victor Garcia, 32, of Lawrence, Mass., is still at large. Deleon and Garcia fled from Lowe's store, located on Route 28, on Tuesday morning after an attempted shoplifting.

Their alleged run-in with loss prevention workers on Tuesday ended with Deleon brandishing a hypodermic needle and yelling "I have AIDS" several times before fleeing in a friend's car, police said.

A loss prevention worker backed off once Deleon took the needle from his pocket and began acting aggressively, police said.

Store workers were able to get a description and license plate of the car the men fled in.

Police say the two are suspected of stealing from several Lowe's stores in New Hampshire and Massachusetts. Lawrence police detectives quickly identified Deleon after seeing surveillance photos released by Salem police on Tuesday, according to Deputy Police Chief Shawn Patten.

"They had put him under surveillance then picked him up," Patten said. "He is well known down there."

Garcia, 32, will be charged with criminal liability for conduct of another and felony theft for Tuesday's incident.

He was free on bail after being arrested Jan. 21 at the Route 28 store for willful concealment.

Patten said that Deleon might not be coming to New Hampshire right away to face charges.

Police in Salem, Mass., also had a warrant for Deleon's arrest regarding a burglary. 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.


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