Crime - Sacto 911

Man repeatedly put something on food at Raley’s Hot Wok, police say

South Lake Tahoe police seek to identify a man suspected of tampering with food at a local grocery store.

Officers received a report Tuesday of possible food tampering at the Hot Wok self-serve food court inside Raley’s at 4000 Lake Tahoe Blvd. in the Crescent V shopping center.

An unidentified man walked into the grocery store, approached the self-serve food display in the food court, and intentionally dispensed an unknown substance on top of the food, according to a Police Department news release. The man then walked out of the store and left the area on foot. Officers were unable to locate him.

A review of store surveillance video indicated that the same man has committed the same act on at least three previous occasions, beginning on or about Nov. 8, police said.

Police Department investigators collected samples of the contaminant for laboratory analysis. Results were pending Wednesday. They also contacted the El Dorado County Environmental Management and Public Health divisions. Police said they are not aware of any illnesses associated with the incidents.

Police stress that anyone who willfully mingles any poison or harmful substance with any food, drink, medicine or pharmaceutical product, when the person knows or should have known that it would be taken by a human and could cause injury, is guilty of a felony punishable by two to five years in state prison.

Police ask the public’s help in identifying the man shown in surveillance photos. He is described as white, approximately 5 feet 7 inches tall, and with a thin build. He was last seen wearing a black hat, dark sunglasses, a black long-sleeved shirt, a black backpack and blue jeans.

Anyone with information pertaining to the case is asked to call the South Lake Tahoe Police Department at 530-542-6100 or Secret Witness at 530-541-6800. Anyone who may have become ill as a result of the incidents is advised to contact a medical provider and to call the El Dorado County Environment Management Division at 530-573-3453 or 530-621-5300.

Cathy Locke: 916-321-5287, @lockecathy