The Portland Press Herald and Bangor Daily News are reporting that two packages of Portland Pie Co. pizza dough purchased at the Sanford Hannaford store in mid-August were found to contain razor blade fragments. In one case, the customer returned the dough to the store, and in the other, just a fragment.
One of the Sanford customers, AdriAnne Cole Curtis, told the BDN that her two-year old daughter Ivy was disturbed by the incident and had trouble sleeping for a week afterward. Ivy is back to eating pizza again, but now makes her mother inspect the store-bought dough very carefully.
After the news broke last week that packages with razor blade fragments had also been found at the Saco Hannaford, company officials realized the Sanford incidents had never been reported to police. They contacted the Sanford Police Department on Sunday, October 11, to make the report. On Wednesday, October 14, the company issued a statement blaming a technological problem for the reporting failure.
Police Chief Thomas Connolly was diplomatic about the delay in an interview with the Press Herald. “What we were told is whoever saw this thought this was a product issue and not a public safety issue…in retrospect, there was probably a better decision that could have been made.”
Nicholas Mitchell, 38, has been arrested and charged in the Saco case. He is a former employee of It’ll Be Pizza, the Scarborough company that actually produces the dough. He is currently on probation from a 2018 case in which he pled guilty to felony criminal threatening. He is being held in New Hampshire but could be transported to York County Jail by the of the week.
Saco police plan to charge Mitchell with two felonies: aggravated reckless conduct, and violating the conditions of his release by possessing a dangerous weapon, a razor blade. Federal authorities are also reviewing the case with an eye to possible charges.
Hannaford, Shaw’s and Star Market stores in Maine and four other New England states have removed all Portland Pie dough from their shelves, and recalled all dough purchased since August 1.
The Dover, NH, Hannaford store has also reported a tampered-with product, but the Dover Police Department would not confirm that it was pizza dough.
No charges have yet been filed in the Sanford cases, but the Sanford Police Department is coordinating its investigation with Saco police and the York County District Attorney’s office.
Read the full Portland Press Herald story here.
Read the full Bangor Daily News story here.