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Landscaper discovers syringes believed to be used for drugs in debris

Posted at 6:43 PM, Apr 25, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-26 13:25:50-04

MILWAUKEE — A landscape company working on the city's south side said they found 17 syringes believed to be used for drugs while on the job.

Kevin Sanders said they were doing a job near 18th and Forest Home at the time.

"We recovered 17 syringes," said Sander. "Some broken, some without caps, some with drugs still inside the syringes."

Sanders' cousin and boss said it was not the first time their crews found syringes like these.

"I never would’ve thought at some point we’re gonna be dealing with needles in bushes and in the grass," said John Zimmer, owner of Zimmer Landscaping.

Zimmer explained workers came across syringes so often they started using needle resistant gloves. They also started keeping Sharps boxes in stock to get rid of the syringes safely.

Sanders shared his experience on Facebook to warn others. When he did, people chimed in about other public places they found syringes including 13th and Greenfield.

A man who lives nearby said it is a reoccurring issue.

"A couple months ago this year I actually found one under my porch and I didn’t know what to do with it you know I called my dad," said Alejandro Perez.

Everyone we talked with said they are concerned about where the syringes and needles could end up.

Sanders, a father of three, said he worries about his own kids.

"If he sees something he’s going to pick it up," he said. "He is 5-years-old. He’s curious. Bright colors are very attractive to young children."

Alderman Jose Perez, who represents the area where people expressed concerns, said he is aware of the issue and there is ongoing work with the Health Department and other groups to address it.

He encouraged people who find syringes to report it by calling 286-CITY. Perez said there is a committed environmental division that will clean up and document the report.