Crime - Sacto 911

Arrest made in South Lake Tahoe food tampering case

In a case that has worried diners, health officials and police, a man has been arrested on suspicion of food tampering in South Lake Tahoe that may have led to the food poisoning of a 12-year-old child.

For a week, South Lake Tahoe police have been trying to identify the man suspected of tampering with food at a chain restaurant’s salsa bar in the Crescent V shopping center and at the Hot Wok self-serve food court inside Raley’s in the same shopping center.

Late Tuesday night, police announced in a press release that they had arrested Harry Dally, 43, of South Lake Tahoe. He was booked into jail on suspicion of food contamination that could be capable of causing injury or death.

So far, Dally is only arrested on a single felony count: The contamination of the self-serve food at Raley’s, where a smell similar to bleach was detected. However, police believe there is a strong possibility that he is also connected to the tampering of the salsa bar at Baja Fresh restaurant in the Crescent V shopping center.

Police were still awaiting video from Baja Fresh corporate offices to make a positive identification of Dally inside the restaurant.

Police believe the self-serve area of Raley’s was contaminated four times. After that tampering was made public, a similar number of events were confirmed at Baja Fresh.

The tampering suspect’s method of operation, his physical description and the smell of the contaminant were similar in both the hot wok and salsa bar incidents, police said.

Working with Raley’s security personnel, police detectives were able to identify Dally as a possible suspect. On Tuesday, detectives served a search warrant at his home in South Lake Tahoe.

Police now believe they know what the contaminant was that fouled the food. However, tests are still being conducted.

“Based upon this arrest we believe the immediate jeopardy to the public has been abated,” a police press release said.

Police expected to consult Wednesday with the lab examining the substance collected at the tampering scenes.

Bill Lindelof: 916-321-1079, @Lindelofnews

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