At least one victim has been reported after police say a man tampered with food at restaurants in South Lake Tahoe.
According to the South Lake Tahoe Police Department, a call was reported Sunday, Nov. 19, of possible food tampering at the Baja Fresh salsa bar, located in the “Crescent V” shopping center. Police say the suspect poured an unknown substance onto salsa.
Police said this is the same suspect who tampered with food at the Hot Wok self-serve food court on Tuesday, Nov. 15, at Raley's at 4000 Lake Tahoe Boulevard. According to police, the suspect apparently walked into the grocery store, approached the self-serve food display in the food court, and poured an unknown substance on top of the food. The suspect then walked out of the store and left the area on foot.
Managers at Baja Fresh said there was a strong chemical odor similar to bleach coming from the salsa bar.
A 12-year-old victim reported feeling sick after eating at Baja Fresh on Saturday, Nov. 19. The victim was hospitalized, where they received treatment for symptoms similar to food poisoning. The victim has since been released from the hospital.
Investigators believe the incidents are related. The suspect identified is described as a white male adult, approximately 5 feet 7 inches tall, with a thin build. Food testing is underway at the California Department of Justice and Department of Public Health laboratories. Police suspect more other restaurants may be vulnerable to similar attacks, and would like the public to be on alert for their personal safety.
If you have any information you can share with the police about these incidents or the suspect, call 530-542-6100 or Secret Witness at 530-541-6800.