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‘Huffing’ incidents result in man’s arrest

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A Stafford County man who was accused last week of “huffing” compressed air in a Walmart parking lot was jailed without bond for similar activity in a Target bathroom, police said.

The suspect was found unconscious in a bathroom stall holding a can of Air Duster when deputies arrived at the store in Stafford Marketplace in North Stafford Monday, Sheriff’s Office spokesman Bill Kennedy said.

Huffing or “dusting,” as it is sometimes called, has become associated with such cleaning brands as Air Duster and Dust-Off. Inhaling compressed air has become a new cheap high, despite danger warnings on the side of each can. Compressed air is used for cleaning computer keyboards and other electronics.

On May 8, Kennedy said, police received a call about the same man at the Walmart lot on Garrisonville Road shortly after 11 p.m. A resident saw a man slumped over the front seat of a vehicle who appeared to have been inhaling compressed air.

Deputy Brandon Gates tried to get the man’s attention, but the man appeared intoxicated and unaware of the the deputy’s presence, Kennedy said. When he finally got the man to open the door, Gates noticed a strong chemical smell and saw an empty Air Duster can on the passenger seat.

The vehicle was searched and two small baggies of heroin, several suboxone pills used to treat addiction to opiates and four empty compressed air cans were recovered. The cans had been taken from Walmart, Kennedy said.

Orrin OKeefe Johnson, 30, was charged with two counts of illegal possession of drugs, shoplifting, inhaling noxious chemicals and public intoxication. He was placed in the Rappahannock Regional Jail under a $3,000 bond.

On Monday, Gates and Deputy Vincent Jones went to Target after an employee found a man later identified as Johnson passed out in the bathroom. The Air Duster can he was holding had been taken from the store into the bathroom.

Johnson, who began regaining consciousness just before the rescue squad arrived, was charged again with shoplifting, inhaling noxious chemicals and public intoxication. Kennedy said that because he violated the terms of the bond he’d received a few days earlier, this time he got no bond.

Keith Epps: 540/374-5404

kepps@freelancestar.com

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