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Consumer Alert: Police Seize Spray Sanitizer Sold At 7-Eleven In N.J. After Boy Gets Burned

RIVER VALE, N.J. (CBSNewYork) -- A sanitizer shortage due to the coronavirus outbreak has many people, including the state of New York, making their own.

However, police in New Jersey investigated a case on Tuesday after one item sold at a popular convenience store burned a young boy, CBS2's Tara Jakeway reported.

On Tuesday night, the Bergen County Prosecutor's Office announced 47-year-old Manisha Bharade of Wood-Ridge was charged with Endangering The Welfare Of A Child and Deceptive Business Practices in connection to the sale of sanitizers.

Manisha Bharade
Manisha Bharade (credit: Bergen County Prosecutor's Office)

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Officers in River Vale said they rushed to the 7-Eleven just after 8 p.m. on Monday after they spotted an alarming social media post.

The pictures that caught their eye showed a 10-year-old boy with burns on his arms and legs. Police said it was a serious reaction to sanitizer bought at the store, which was selling its own store-made mixture in pink bottles -- the generic label from a beauty supply store -- for $2.49.

The boy, Dylan Gehm, was treated at a local hospital and released. Three other children had mild reactions and were not hospitalized. River Vale police confiscated all the remaining bottles in the store and the ingredients used.

Dylan told Jakeway in an exclusive interview he and his friends purchased the spray because they hoped it would protect them against coronavirus.

"We sprayed on ourselves, so we start feeling itchiness in the first 10 minutes. Then about 10 minutes after that we feel burning," Dylan said.

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Dylan's mother, Lauren Gehm, said she took him to the emergency room twice in 36 hours, with nurses trying several methods to ease his pain.

"It's very upsetting," Lauren Gehm said. "For this to be just sitting at the counter of a 7-Eleven being sold to children with no warning label and no ingredients is just completely unacceptable."

She took her frustrations to Facebook and that's when River Vale police intervened.

"It does violate law in that you cannot sell an unsafe, unlabeled, untested product," Gehm attorney James Lynch said.

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Authorities said they don't believe the store owners had bad intent. Rather, it was more a classic case of opportunism. With the number of coronavirus cases growing each day in the Tri-State Area, hand sanitizer has been flying off the shelves.

Investigators say Bharade had mixed commercially available foaming sanitizer, which was not meant for resale, with water and packaged it in aftermarket bottles to be sold at the 7-Eleven on Rivervale Road.

Police told CBS2 three other families have already turned in the bottles. There are still about a dozen outstanding. They believe this incident was isolated to the single store.

Anyone who purchased a bottle is asked to call the police department at 201-664-1111.

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