FRANKFORT, Ky. (WDRB) -- An attempt by two Tennessee brothers to rip people off during the coronavirus crisis has turned into a blessing for some Kentucky first responders.
The two had purchased truckloads of masks, hand sanitizers and other supplies from stores along the Interstate 75 corridor in Kentucky and Tennessee border.
Authorities said they planned to re-sell the merchandise at inflated prices.
“They were basically going through these small convenience stores and dollar stores and Dollar Trees, and buying up what was on the shelf but also asking the folks to go in the back of the warehouse and purchase those boxes as well,” Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron said.
When law enforcement closed in, Cameron said the brothers changed their plans.
“They relented and decided they were going to donate these products back to the communities they were purchased from,” Cameron said.
Kentucky received one of three truckloads of supplies, and Cameron decided to give them to first responders to help keep them safe.
“It's hard for us to get anything right now,” said Kelly Harrison, director of Whitley County EMS. “The masks, especially, and being able to wipe down our ambulances really well, using the hand sanitizer after every patient that we touch — it is a blessing."
Darren Wyatt of the London-Laurel County Rescue Squad said his agency was beginning to run low on the supplies.
“We have looked for masks, and we have looked for hand sanitizer in various stores, and we have found nothing,” he said.
This is one case where someone else's crime did pay for these public servants.
“We're all in this together,” Harrison said. “We need to pull together.”
Earlier this week, Cameron launched an online form where Kentucky residents can report suspected price gouging during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Residents can also report price gouging by contacting the Consumer Protection Hotline at 1-888-432-9257.
As of March 19, the Kentucky Attorney General's Office has received 260 complaints of suspected gouging.
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