In the modern world, there are few things as insidious as bedbugs. The gross little critters invade homes, biting and sucking while the innocent sleep. They are nearly impossible to get rid of and make social pariahs of anyone unlucky enough to get infested. City dwellers tell stories of their brushes with bedbugs—finding one at a hotel, slapping one from their arms on the subway—with a reverent terror akin to the stories of those who had chance encounters with serial killers but came away miraculously unharmed.
And because a bedbug infestation means an expensive life of desperate loneliness, the Typhoid Mary who left two pill bottles full of bedbugs inside a Pennsylvania Walmart should be apprehended and tried by a jury of peers who have suffered the humiliation and cost of a bedbug ordeal, though they will most likely sentence the culprit to death.
Police in Edinboro, Pennsylvania, a town 90 miles northeast of Cleveland, say a Walmart employee recently found a sealed pill bottle containing multiple bedbugs inside a boys’ jacket for sale at the store. A second bottle containing dead bugs was later found in the men’s clothing department, and several live bedbugs were found crawling around the men’s clothing department. Authorities believe the bedbugs were left in a deliberate attempt to infest the store.
Luckily, the plan failed. Walmart brought in an independent pest management company that says there is “no evidence of an infestation,” and nearby stores say they have not found any pill bottles full of blood-thirsty parasites in any of the blazers currently for sale. For now.
But investigators should consider the possibility that this villain is just getting started. Infested with bedbugs following a tragic accident in the lab, the once mild-mannered entomologist now stalks discount stores, not content until all shoppers become outcasts like himself, beleaguered by bugs and shunned by peers. A desperate city needs a hero to catch this madman before it’s too late.