Police investigating a possible food tampering incident at a salsa bar in South Lake Tahoe, CA, have arrested a local man on a felony charge related to a similar incident last week in a different place.
Harry Dally, 43, was taken into custody Tuesday night and charged with suspicion of food contamination that could be capable of causing injury or death.
This man is suspected of tampering with food at two different self-serve locations in South Lake Tahoe, CA. (Courtesy of South Lake Tahoe Police Department)
According to officers, a 12-year-old boy complained of illness on Saturday after eating at the Baja Fresh salsa bar in the Crescent V shopping center in South Lake Tahoe. He was treated at a hospital for food poisoning symptoms and released.
The manager of Baja Fresh called police after noticing a “strong chemical odor” similar to bleach at the salsa self-serve bar. A sign was later posted on the salsa bar stating, “For the moment our salsa bar is out of order, if you would like salsa’s ask the cashier. Sorry for the inconvenience.”
The Baja Fresh incident is similar to an event last week when a man was seen on surveillance video at the Hot Wok self-serve food court inside Raley’s grocery store at the same shopping center in South Lake Tahoe. A bleach-like smell was also reportedly detected there.
Police said they suspect that Dally is responsible for the food-tampering incidents in both locations. However, his felony arrest on Tuesday was related only to Raley’s.
On Wednesday, local police were reportedly waiting for video from Baja Fresh to see whether they could make a positive identification of Dalley inside the salsa bar restaurant.
Meanwhile, lab tests are being done on the contaminated food items, and while police said they are fairly sure what the substance was, they were waiting on final results before sharing that information.
Local county health officials have notified restaurants in the popular tourist area to be alert to the potential for food poisoning attempts, especially those with buffets and self-serve dining options.
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