Robbery suspect threatens clerk with HIV-infected syringe

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CASSELBERRY, Fla. - A man accused of robbing a Casselberry pet store had a syringe and threatened to stab employee after claiming the needle was contaminated with HIV.

Investigators said Casey Garlick, 27, of Lake Mary, passed a note to an employee at Pet Supermarket on Semoran Boulevard.

The note said Garlick had a needle infected with HIV and that he would stab the employee with the syringe if need be.

According to the police report, the note read, "Stay calm. I have an HIV-positive needle in my hand. If you call police I will stab you w/it. Take all the cash out of the register... I have a bomb outside. I will throw it into the store if needed."

When the teller looked up, Garlick said, "It's not a joke," according to the police report.

Though the note said Garlick had a bomb, police only found a syringe when they arrested him a short time later.

Channel 9's Christopher Heath asked the suspect on Wednesday if he really did have an HIV-infected needle, but Garlick simply replied, "I got nothing to say, man. You're wasting your time, you're wasting my time."

In court, Garlick was emphatic that he was not the person who robbed the store, but when Heath showed the clerk video of Garlick, she said he was the suspect.

"They didn't tell me why I was arrested," Garlick said. "They just told me what I was charged with."

The robbery happened last month, but Garlick was arrested at an apartment complex on Tuesday, officials said.

Police said when they arrested Garlick, he had a syringe on him, but it's unknown if he has access to HIV-infected blood.

Garlick is charged with grand theft, threatening to discharge a dangerous device and robbery with a weapon. He is being held on $4,200 bond.

No injuries were reported.

It's important to note that HIV cannot live outside of the body, but could still be deadly inside a syringe.