FLUSHING (WJRT) (11/01/2017) - The Flushing Police Department is renewing advice for parents to check their children's trick-or-treat candy after a child bit into a Tootsie Roll with needles inside.
A woman told police on Wednesday that her children, 10-year-old Sydney Maurer, had been trick-or-treating on Primrose Lane and Windy Bluff Drive west of Seymour Road on Halloween.
While Sydney was biting into a Tootsie Roll passed out during trick-or-treating, she bit two needles embedded into the candy. Luckily, she was not injured.
Sydney said she brought the Tootsie Roll into her mother's bedroom Wednesday morning to nibble on while working on some homework.
"I bit into it and it wasn't going all the way through, so I took it out," she said. "I wasn't the first to see (the needles). My mom saw it first and she said, 'Go get your dad now.'"
They contacted the Flushing Police Department, which sent an officer to make a report about the incident.
Flushing police said the Tootsie Roll was full-size and appeared to be wrapped normally.
"I couldn't believe it was happening. I thought I was in a dream," Sydney said. "To know it was real just makes my heartbeat go even faster. It was scary. I was crying the whole time. I didn't know what would happen."
Nobody is sure which house the Tootsie Roll came from because the family visited numerous houses. Sydney had some concerns about a few houses she visited, but couldn't say for certain where she got the tampered Tootsie Roll.
"It could have been anybody in the neighborhood," she said. "It was an experience and I don't think I'll ever forget it."
While she's OK after the shocking find, she was concerned that somebody easily could have put a poisonous substance or something more dangerous than needles into candy.
"It's really, really, really sickening that someone is doing that and it's scary," Sydney said.
Authorities say parents should check trick-or-treating candy thoroughly and report anything suspicious to police. Sydney's dad, John Maurer, is sad that even in a quiet community like Flushing these kinds of incidents can still happen.
"I was horrified ... to know it was in this community," he said.
Long time neighbor Florence Chamberlain says she doesn't think it's safe for kids to go door-to-door nowadays.
"I'm sorry, I don't think Halloween is real wise anymore," she said.
Flushing Police Chief Mark Hoornstra says they are sending the Tootsie Roll, with the needles inside, to the state police crime lab. As for who may be behind this?
"We have to look at all aspects of the investigation at this point," Hoornstra said. "Anybody over in that area is kind of a suspect."
Anyone with information about the Tootsie Roll tampering is asked to call the Flushing Police Department at 810-659-3119. Police warn that anyone caught tampering with food could face a felony charge punishable by up to 10 years in prison.
Sydney said she hopes police catch whoever put needles into her Tootsie Roll and prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law. But she plans to go trick-or-treating again next year -- just more carefully.