Investigators say the man accused of putting hydrogen peroxide on rotisserie chicken and bleach on eggs at two Sunnyvale Safeway stores has a history of food tampering. Santa Clara County Sheriff’s deputies arrested 48-year-old David Lohr at a VTA bus stop in Los Altos on Feb. 6.
Lohr was arrested after a VTA bus driver called the Sunnyvale Department of Public Safety (DPS) to report a man spreading a white powder (later determined to be salt) and hydrogen peroxide on the bus. The bus was immediately evacuated.
Lohr was not present when officers arrived on scene. Sunnyvale DPS Captain Jim Choi says the department’s hazmat team cleared the bus and ensured it was safe before it went back out on the road.
Santa Clara County Sheriff’s deputies found Lohr a little while later in Los Altos. After arresting Lohr, investigators retraced his steps and caught him on camera tampering with food at two Sunnyvale Safeway stores. Safeway store managers immediately responded.
“Food safety is of the utmost importance to us,” said Wendy Gutshall of Safeway. “When this came to our attention, we immediately removed any affected products at these stores. The health department inspected both locations and reported no areas of concern.”
The FBI says Lohr is also accused of food tampering in multiple cities in Southern California as well as Arizona. He was reportedly caught on tape taking bleach off a supermarket shelf and pouring it into freezers that contained packaged food, including ice and frozen seafood.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says you should always examine your food before you buy it. If you think the item has been tampered with, compare it to other containers on the shelf to see if there are any differences.
Check anti-tampering devices, such as plastic seals or the safety button on a lid. Never buy a product that is open, torn or damaged, such as cans that are leaking or bulge at the ends. Also avoid products that look unusual. Always check the sell by date before you buy.
At home, the FDA says do not use products that are “discolored, moldy, have an odor, or that spurt liquid or foam when the container is opened.”
If you do run across any of these issues, take it back to the store where you bought it and inform management.
Lohr was a transient most recently living in Santa Clara County. He faces charges in Santa Clara, Orange, and Los Angeles counties as well as the state of Arizona. There is no word yet on where he will be tried first.
The FBI is looking for any more potential victims connected to Lohr. If you have any information, you are asked to contact your local FBI field office.