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Reports: Man not bitten by snake in Wal-Mart

Friday, October 3, 2003

BROWNWOOD, Texas (AP) - Doctors don't believe that a man was bitten by a rattlesnake in a Wal-Mart, as he claimed, and they say he stole more than $15,000 in medical services from the hospital, police said.

Douglas Hatchett, 31, a self-employed carpenter and painter who lives in Bangs, went to Wal-Mart in nearby Brownwood on Monday. He said he reached for a pair of shoes in a box on a shelf when the Western diamondback rattler, estimated at 14-16 inches long, bit him in the hand.

He said he then stomped it to death and told an employee, who got a snake-bite kit and called for an ambulance.

However, Brownwood Regional Medical Center doctors told police Hatchett had not been bitten by a rattler. Hospital officials filed a police report.

Brownwood Police Chief Virgil Corwin referred questions Friday to Brown County prosecutor Michael Murray, who said he had received no reports on the matter.

Neither Hatchett nor hospital officials immediately returned calls from The Associated Press seeking comment.

Wal-Mart officials have been investigating Hatchett's claim.

"There are just too many inconsistencies for us and too many things that just don't add up," Wal-Mart spokesman Tom Williams told the Brownwood Bulletin.

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