CLIFTON, NJ – Two men were arrested and charged with engaging in lewd behavior on a display bed at Bed Bath & Beyond during regular business hours.
Police officers responded to the Route 3 Riverfront shopping center at 5 p.m. Monday on a report from a witness that two men were engaged in a sex act, records show.
Police arrested two 28-year-old men, one from Nutley and the other from North Carolina. Both were charged with lewdness, criminal mischief and possession of marijuana, according to police records. The Nutley suspect was also charged with having an outstanding warrant for his arrest.
The incident was reported by an employee who witnessed the act, reports show.
One or both of the men apprehended by police were found to be infected with scabies, a contagious skin infestation caused by a microscopic parasite that burrows beneath skin. The arresting officers were exposed to the mites, according to police reports.
Because the two men were found to be suffering from a health condition, their identities are protected by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, known as HIPAA, officials said. However, police said they were not Bed Bath & Beyond employees.
The officers were treated at St. Joseph’s Regional Medical Center and released, though they were on leave for a few days to avoid contaminating the Clifton Police Department’s offices, according to the record of the incident, which also said the booking station had to be fumigated by exterminators to prevent any spread of scabies.
Detective Lt. Robert Bracken said it’s not yet known if the suspects were intoxicated or under the influence of a controlled dangerous substance. He said there was no clear motive or reason behind the crime.
Bracken credited the store’s employees, who were “proactive in remedying the situation.”
A manager at the store declined to comment when reached on Thursday and referred inquiries to its headquarters.
Jessica Joyce, senior manager of Bed Bath & Beyond’s public relations and social media, emailed a statement saying the company “takes the safety of our customers and associates very seriously” and found this incident “extremely upsetting.”
“Out of an abundance of caution, the incident-related merchandise and display was immediately pulled from the floor and discarded. We will continue to take steps to assure that our store and merchandise continues to be safe for our customers and associates. If any customer feels uncomfortable in our store for any reason, we will of course attempt to address such a situation in an appropriate manner,” Joyce wrote.