Man charged with poisoning baby food in extortion plot

Javier Howell
October 1, 2017

Authorities released surveillance footage of the suspect, whom they earlier described as aged 55, wearing glasses and a white cap, which ultimately led to the arrest.

German police announced Saturday the arrest of a 53-year-old man "strongly suspected" of poisoning baby food and threatening to contaminate other products in stores nationwide and across Europe.

Officials have managed to track down the baby food that was tampered with, and DNA found on the jars has been linked to the suspect. Still, police told consumers to check the safety seals on products they buy and report suspected tampering to the authorities. The man was detained near Tübingen, south of Stuttgart, on Friday evening, after members of the public tipped off investigators. Next to them sit the public prosecutors Alexander Boger, second right, and Karl-Josef Diehl.

Earlier this month, police received an emailed threat to distribute 20 types of poisoned foodstuffs into supermarkets across Germany and overseas if they did not pay a sum believed to top €10 million ($12 million).

If convicted, the man could face up to 15 years in prison for extortion. Police are seeking one man seen on camera.

A state consumer protection ministry official said the substance detected was ethylene glycol, used in anti-freeze products and brake fluids, which is toxic, and fatal in large quantities.

Officials in Konstanz, on Germany's southern border, said Thursday the blackmailer or blackmailers alerted them September 16 that five jars of baby food at shops in nearby Friedrichshafen had been manipulated. He left the store before they could stop him.

Other reports by Insurance News

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