Here are some of the top stories we’re following for today. 2/15/19
Damian Giletto and Daniel Sato, Delaware News Journal
Have you met the ‘meat man?’
Delaware police say they’ve identified the man who’s asking for gas money in exchange for the meat he’s keeping in the back of his SUV. They haven’t found him yet, but they’re looking to meet him because his sales pitch recently raised some concern in Pike Creek.
It was about 7:30 p.m. Wednesday when the man walked into Heart and Home gift shop on Limestone Road and approached a young sales clerk, according to police. The man needed money for gas, he told her, and asked whether she would like to come out to his SUV and get some meat.
“Our concerns were for our young sales associate,” said the store’s co-owner, Nina Sneeringer. “We’re in an extremely safe area, but there are a few creeps out there.”
The young lady told the man no, Sneeringer said, and the older sales associate working that night doubled down on that: The answer was no, and she threatened to call security.
“It did not feel right,” Sneeringer said. “Immediately after, she locked the front door.”
A state police spokeswoman said the situation was reported and troopers started to look for the mystery meat man because of his suspicious behavior. She said it was especially troublesome that he claimed to be out of gas but drove away once he was chased off.
Sneeringer is convinced there’s something illegal going on. But 19-year-old Jeffrey Brannock says he’s met the meat man, too — and at least part of the story holds up.
“He gave me a couple pork chops,” Brannock said. “Some type of steak, I think it was like a flank steak or something. And then he gave me some sausages,”
Brannock was gassing up at the Royal Farms on Kirkwood Highway about three weeks ago when the same man in photos circulated by state police approached him, he said.
“He just asked me if I could spare any money for gas and made it clear he could give me meat,” Brannock said. “I’m usually not the type of person to buy into that stuff, but he looked like an average guy. … It was very weird. I was honestly really confused.”
Brannock said there really was no reason for the man to give him any meat.
“I didn’t really need meat, especially from a stranger at a gas station,” Brannock said.
But he put $20 worth of gas into the man’s car, and Brannock walked away with some meat.
“He just popped open the back door and was looking in his cooler where there was all kinds of meat,” Brannock said. “I brought it home to my mom.”
Brannock’s mother, Terrie Brannock, dressed him down for being part of something so, well, weird. His mother said she was concerned about her son’s safety.
Then Terrie Brannock pitched the meat in the garbage.
But would Jeffrey Brannock have eaten it, himself?
“Honestly, probably not,” he said. “I thought about it.”
William Nyce, though, will remain skeptical of his gas-bartered meat until he cooks it.
“Oh, we got meat, yeah. I still have the meat if you want it,” Nyce said of the filets he exchanged gas money for weeks ago. “We’re not just going to put them in our mouths.”
Nyce and a friend were coming out of a Limestone Road Wawa around 1 a.m. when he said the man in the photo approached him with a deal that by now should sound familiar.
“We were taken off guard because that’s not something that usually happens,” Nyce said. “We didn’t just give him money. We were like, ‘Can we see the meat first?'”
The situation was, to put it mildly, weird, he said, and there was a sense it might just be better to make the deal. So he did, but like others, Nyce said the man was very polite.
Nyce said the man gave him his number for further deals, but the number was bad.
“He said he’d hook us up with meat,” Nyce said.
There are reports circulating on social media of many such encounters with the man. Some people have tried to identify him, and state police said they have.
State police did not say whether they believe he’s dangerous, but they asked anyone with information to call (302)-633-5000. Police did not release the meat man’s name.
Follow Adam Duvernay on Twitter: @duvINdelaware
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