A woman has been arrested after a “complex” investigation into an Australian strawberry scare where needles were found stuck into the fruit, police said Sunday, in a crisis that sparked nationwide panic.
Queensland state authorities offered a large reward and the national government raised jail terms for such crimes after sewing needles were found in plastic boxes of the fruit sold in supermarkets in September.
Since the first case became public knowledge when a man was taken to hospital with stomach pains after consuming strawberries, apparently more than 100 incidents of pins and needles found in fruit, mostly strawberries, were reported in September around the country.
Another similar incident was reported in New Zealand.
Police said a 50-year-old woman was arrested on Sunday afternoon “following a complex… and extensive investigation” into the contamination case.
“The Queensland Police Service ordinated a national investigative response with multiple government, law enforcement and intelligence agencies,” they added in a statement.
The woman was to be charged on Sunday and is expected to appear in court in Brisbane on Monday.
Police have not revealed any further details.
The sabotage crisis led to supermarkets pulling out fruit from their stores and the government raised the maximum prison sentence for fruit tampering from 10 to 15 years.