Grocery Chain Slow to Report Tampering at One of Its Maine Stores

It took two months for a supermarket chain to alert police and customers about the discovery of razor blades in fresh pizza dough sold at one if its stores in Maine, a newspaper reported.

Product tampering at a store in Sanford, Maine, wasn’t reported to local police until this week, after authorities started investigating an incident at another store in Saco, Maine, the Portland Press Herald reported. Tampering also occurred at a Hannaford store in Dover, New Hampshire.

Nicholas R. Mitchell, a 38-year-old New Hampshire resident who worked for the pizza dough vendor, is accused of putting razor blades in pizza dough sold at the Hannaford supermarket in Saco on Oct. 5. The incidents at the other two stores remain under investigation.

The grocery retailer took responsibility in a written statement for failing to alert police sooner about the Sanford incidents and said it was improving internal policies and procedures.

Sanford Police Chief Thomas Connolly told the newspaper that the company reported the incidents to police on Sunday. That’s the same day Mitchell was arrested and Hannaford recalled its Portland Pie Co.-branded pizza dough, manufactured by a vendor in Scarborough.

“I’m a tad surprised that someone didn’t realize the significance of this, but I don’t know who it was and I’m not casting any aspersions on anyone,” Connolly said about the delay in reporting.

Mitchell is charged in Maine with reckless conduct, criminal threatening with a dangerous weapon, violating conditions of release, and probation revocation, according to court paperwork. He waived extradition Tuesday during a court hearing in New Hampshire.