A disgruntled ex-employee is arrested for putting razor blades in pizza dough.
Nicholas Mitchell, 38, was arrested this month in Dover, NH, after the Saco Hannaford Supermarket in Maine reported he put razor blades in pizza dough. The issue was discovered when a customer returned a package of Portland Pie dough after “finding an undisclosed number of razor blades in it,” according to a statement by the Saco Police Department. Mitchell is a former employee of the It’ll Be Pizza supply company, which makes products for Portland Pie.
Officers reviewed store surveillance footage which clearly showed Mitchell tampering with the packaging. They released a physical description of Mitchell as well as a description of his car in an appeal to the public to help them track him down and were able to arrest him within about two hours later and 50 miles away in Dover, New Hampshire.
“This evening the Dover, NH Police Department located Nicholas Mitchell and took him into custody on the outstanding warrant for his arrest in the Hannaford’s Portland Pie pizza dough razor blade case,” the Saco Police Department announced, indicating Mitchell was taken into custody without incident.
Mike White, CEO of It’ll Be Pizza, told Saco police that Mitchell worked as a forklift driver at a warehouse in Scarborough. He was terminated in June after “not showing up for work too many times because of unidentified personal problems.” Since the driver was let go, It’ll Be Pizza had received more than 100 harassing phone calls, according to White. Its information technology department traced the calls back to Mitchell.
Hannaford officials say they’re taking all Portland Pie products off store shelves “out of an abundance of caution.” In a statement, the company indicated, “Hannaford Supermarkets has issued a recall for all Portland Pie cheese and Portland Pie fresh dough sold in the deli department. After what is believed to be further malicious tampering incidents involving metal objects inserted into Portland Pie products, Hannaford has removed all Portland Pie products from all store shelves and has paused replenishment of the products indefinitely.”
Also, according to Hannaford, “customers who purchased Portland Pie pizza dough and Portland Pie cheese sold in the deli at any Hannaford store between August 1, 2020, and October 11, 2020, should not consume the products and may return it to the store for a full refund. Customers are urged to also check storage areas including freezers for products that may have been purchased and frozen during this timeframe.”
Shaw’s and Star Market are also removing Portland Pie pizza dough from stores with a spokesperson stating, “We take the quality and safety of products very seriously.” Customers who purchased any of the dough can return the products for a full refund.
So far, no adverse effects from ingesting blades have been reported, and authorities are still investigating whether any specific individuals were targeted in the crime.