A man accused of putting razor blades and screws in pizza dough at supermarkets in Maine and New Hampshire has been jailed.
Nicholas Mitchell, 39, from Dover, New Hampshire, was sentenced to four years and nine months in prison on Thursday.
Mitchell was arrested in October 2020 after razor blades were found in pizza dough sold at a Hannaford store in Saco.
Three customers bought the tainted product in Saco and discovered the blades hidden in the dough, prosecutors said.
The product tampering also occurred at Hannaford stores in Sanford in Maine and Dover in New Hampshire, prompting police investigations in those areas as well.
Mitchell was a former employee of It’ll Be Pizza, a company based in Scarborough, Maine, which makes several brands of dough, including the Portland Pie Co. dough that was allegedly tampered with.
Court documents indicated that Mitchell’s life spiralled out of control during the coronavirus pandemic when his girlfriend lost her hair salon and Mitchell was arrested following a domestic disturbance, leaving him homeless and living in his car.
He was later fired from his job.
According to court papers, the sentencing followed an agreement with prosecutors in which Mitchell pleaded guilty in June to one of two counts of tampering with a consumer product.
Under the agreement, Mitchell agreed not to appeal a sentence that was no greater than four years and nine months.
The maximum penalty for product tampering is 10 years in prison.
The sentencing hearing went ahead though Mitchell was recovering from contracting COVID-19 in jail.
The judge told him the nature of the crime spread fear in the community.
Mitchell was tearful as he apologised for his actions during the hearing, saying he did not want to hurt anyone, but wanted revenge on the firm that fired him.
Supermarket surveillance video showed him handling pizza dough and loitering around a refrigerated case.
Mitchell was also ordered to pay $230,000 (£173,000) in restitution to Hannaford Supermarkets.
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