A Tennessee man donated roughly 17,000 bottles of hand sanitizer to a church on Sunday after facing public backlash and a cease-and-desist order from the state’s attorney general.
Matt Colvin and his brother Noah, who live in the Chattanooga, Tennessee-area, handed over about two-thirds of their supply of hand sanitizer and anti-bacterial wipes following an investigation from the attorney general’s office for price gouging, The New York Times reported.
According to Colvin’s website, the remainder of the items have since been donated.
“I just want to make clear that donating the sanitizers does not mean they are off the hook legally,” attorney general’s office spokeswoman Samantha Fisher told NBC-affiliate WRCB-TV.
“If evidence establishes they engaged in price gouging we will seek appropriate penalties.”
The remainder of the items were to be donated in Kentucky, according to WRCB.
The Colvins went state-to-state purchasing the hand sanitizer and sold about 300 bottles of the sanitizer at a markup, according to The Times.
They sold the items for as much as $70.
Matt Colvin told WRCB he didn’t anticipate a hand sanitizer shortage nor did he consider his plan to stock up and then sell the products as exploitative.
“I didn’t think it was going to blow up into a situation where everyone is being told to stay home,” Colvin said.
He added that he’s received death threats and has evacuated his family from their home in Hixson because strangers on Saturday night.
“I am beside myself with where we are with my family and I’m scared for my family’s safety,” he said.
Colvin did offer up an apology for anyone affected by his actions.
“If by my actions anyone was directly impacted and unable to get sanitizer because I purchased it all, I am truly sorry for that,” he said.
Americans have been hoarding items such as toilet paper and paper towels amid a spreading coronavirus outbreak that has led to temporary shutdowns of stores, restaurants and other businesses across the country.
More than 169,000 cases and 6,700 deaths have been confirmed worldwide.
The United States has more than 3,700 cases and 69 deaths.
President Donald Trump on Sunday, following a call with food industry executives, urged the public not to panic and advised against hoarding items.
“You don’t have to buy so much,” he said. “There’s no need for anybody in the country to hoard essential food supplies.”
Some grocery stores have taken to limiting purchases of hand sanitizer, toilet paper and other products.
- Matt Colvin.: Screen grab