Five arrested for stealing 100K surgical masks at gunpoint in Ukraine

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Ukrainian authorities have arrested several suspects thought to have robbed a private surgical mask seller at gunpoint, stealing more than 100,000 masks, which are in shortages worldwide as people attempt to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

Reuters reported that Kyiv police say the suspects posed as members of state security forces before robbing and assaulting the man who was selling surgical masks from his car.

“Instead of negotiating the purchase and sale conditions, the criminals attacked [the seller], took the masks and beat the man,” Kyiv police chief Andriy Kryshchenko said, according to Reuters. “Wearing police uniforms and threatening to use firearms, the criminals took possession of the whole batch of goods.”

The reported robbery comes as countries around the world have battled to prevent the spread of coronavirus. Amazon and other retailers have taken steps to prevent price gouging and hoarding in recent days as panicked buyers have sought to buy surgical masks in large numbers.

“In particular, you will notice that we are currently out of stock on some popular brands and items, especially in household staples categories,” Amazon said in a blog post on Sunday.

“We are working around the clock with our selling partners to ensure availability on all of our products, and bring on additional capacity to deliver all of your orders,” the post continued.

Some health experts have warned that the masks are actually ineffective for preventing contraction of the disease.

“There’s little harm in it,” Eric Toner of the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security said of the masks. “But it’s not likely to be very effective in preventing it.”

Tags Coronavirus Outbreak surgical masks
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