On Tuesday, November 15, 2016, South Lake Tahoe Police Department officers responded to a report of possible food tampering at the Hot Wok self-serve food court inside Raley’s at 4000 Lake Tahoe Boulevard in the “Crescent V” shopping center. An unidentified suspect had walked into the grocery store, approached the self-serve food display in the food court, and intentionally dispensed an unknown type of contaminating substance on top of the food. The suspect then walked out of the store and left the area on foot. Officers were unable to locate the suspect. After a review of store surveillance video, it appears that the same suspect has committed this act on at least three prior occasions, beginning on or about Tuesday, November 8th, 2016.
SLTPD investigators have collected samples of the contaminant for laboratory analysis in an attempt to identify what it is. We do not have a time estimate yet as to when these results may become available. We have also been in contact with the El Dorado County Environmental Management and Public Health Divisions. They are not aware of any illnesses associated with this investigation. Every person who willfully mingles any poison or harmful substance with any food, drink, medicine, or pharmaceutical product where the person knows or should have known that the same would be taken by any human being to his or her injury, is guilty of a felony punishable by imprisonment in the state prison for two, four, or five years.
We are requesting our public’s assistance to identify the suspect. He is described as follows: a white male adult, approximately 5’07” tall, with a thin build. The suspect was last seen wearing a black hat, dark sunglasses, a black long-sleeved shirt, black backpack, and blue jeans. The attached photo is a still taken from actual surveillance video of the suspect.
Please contact the South Lake Tahoe Police Department at (530) 542-6100 or Secret Witness at (530) 541-6800 with any information regarding this case. If you believe that you have become ill, please contact your medical provider and contact the County of El Dorado Environmental Management Division at (530)573-3453 or (530)621-5300.