Police search for man seen sprinkling strange substance on food in restaurant
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE (KTXL) -- Self-service Chinese food at Raley's -- it's quick, it's easy, and for one man, police say it's a target.
According to officers, surveillance video shows a thin build, white adult man dumping some kind of contaminant on the Sizzling Wok trays at the Raley's in South Lake Tahoe's Crescent V shopping center.
He's still on the loose.
"Oh, that's concerning, wow," said Daniel Stone, who shops at that location regularly.
"Like poison?" asked South Lake Tahoe's Anna Poland when she learned about the contamination.
"Oh, God ... that's horrible," she said.
"I feel like that's strange behavior. I feel like I can't fathom why somebody would be doing that," said. Stone.
And it's apparently been done repeatedly.
After reviewing store surveillance from before the latest images were captured on Nov. 15, investigators say this same subject contaminated self-service food in the same way three prior times starting on Nov. 8.
Raley's is reassuring its customers.
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"We want customers to know that the food they pick up at their Raley's, Bel Air and Nob Hill stores now and in the future is safe," said Chelsea Minor, director of public relations and public affairs for the chain.
"We're confident that our in-store execution of reacting to this and pulling that product immediately and disposing of it occurred. So currently we had closed the wok for a time-being," she said. "It has now been re-opened."
Raley's was already changing out service trays every 20 to 30 minutes and visually sweeping the area checking for any irregularities in sanitation before this situation.
It was one of those employee checks that led to the police and now the FBI investigating this case of food tampering.
FOX40's been told additional policies the chain won't disclose have been put in place since the last incident.
Since no one's reported any illness connected to the Sizzling Wok food, customers FOX40 talked with felt the store had situation under control given circumstances.
But for Anna Poland, the investigation's re-affirmed some of her lifestyle choices.
"I'm vegetarian, and I kind of stay away from anything I don't cook myself, for reasons like that partially."
Again no one has reported becoming ill after eating any of the food believed to be contaminated at the Raley's in South Lake Tahoe and no one has turned in any food purchased there during a voluntary recall issued by the store.