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Local News

September 24, 2009

Gesundheit? Sneezing fetish lands man in jail

COMMERCE — The Commerce Police Department has taken an elderly Hopkins County man into custody and are preparing to charge him with aggravated assault, after he allegedly attacked a female store clerk by blowing a powdery substance in her face, twice.

The reason why the man did it is truly unusual, according to Commerce Police Chief Kerry Crews.

“In my entire career I’ve never heard of anything like this,” Crews said. “I’ve checked with my detectives and they haven’t heard of anything like it either.”

Officers were called to Commerce Hardware and Feed on Monday regarding a customer that blew a white powdery substance in an employees face. The employee was checking the suspect out and when he handed his check to her, he blew the substance in her face. She turned away to process his check and when she turned back to him, he did it a second time, waited in the store for a few minutes then left.

Crews said Investigator Steve Scott was able to identify the suspect and subsequently interview him regarding this offense. The substance in the incident turned out to be white pepper.

“We found out he’s got a problem,” Crews said. “He becomes aroused by females sneezing.”

Crews said the nature of the incident could not be considered as a sexual assault. However, as the employee was taken to Hunt Regional Hospital in Commerce for an irritated throat and arm, the suspect was arrested for aggravated assault causing serious bodily Injury.

The suspect’s name was not released Thursday, pending his arraignment on the charge.

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