Nicholas R. Mitchell (pictured in mugshot) was convicted of sticking razor blades into fresh pizza dough
A New Hampshire man has been convicted of stuffing razor blades into fresh pizza dough made by a company that fired him.
Nicholas Mitchell, 39, of Dover, pleaded guilty to tampering with a consumer product on Thursday, according to the Department of Justice.
After initially pleading not guilty to two separate charges, Mitchell changed his plea to guilty for one and saw the other dropped.
Mitchell was an employee with a company in Maine that manufactured pizza doughs for supermarkets in the region.
He was fired from his job in June 2020, although the reason for his termination hasn’t been revealed.
The DOJ says he proceeded to enter a Saco supermarket on October 5, where the pizza doughs were distributed.
Mitchell went to a display case for the pizzas and put razor blades into several of the pizza doughs, three of which were purchased that day. The customers who bought the pizzas later discovered the razor blades.
Store personnel removed the other pizza doughs when learning of the tainted products, discovering one more dough with a razor blade in the process.
Security footage at the Saco Hannaford Supermarket allegedly showed the suspect, identified as Nicholas R. Mitchell, tampering with food products (pictured)
After Hannaford reported the alleged food tampering, authorities released Mitchell’s physical description and a photo of his car to the public (pictured)
The Saco Police Department received a call from a local Hannaford Supermarket regarding suspected food tampering in a Portland Pie Pizza dough.
‘The review of store security surveillance footage revealed a person tampered with the packaging of several Portland Pie Pizza doughs,’ authorities said.
The security footage referenced by authorities has not been released to the public.
An investigation was launched, resulting in Mitchell’s arrest. Mitchell was apprehended by the New Hampshire Police Department and taken into custody.
The police investigation widened in subsequent days to include other tampering cases in Sanford, Maine, and in Dover, New Hampshire.
And authorities discovered Mitchell had a connection to the tampered pizza dough.
‘Nicholas Mitchell is a former associate of “It’ll be Pizza company,” who manufactures product for Portland Pie,’ authorities said.
Mitchell (pictured) is a former associate of ‘It’ll be Pizza company,’ which manufactures product for Portland Pie. He was fired from his job there in June 2020
A motive for the alleged food tampering has not been revealed. It’s unclear if there was a specific target.
DailyMail.com has reached out to It’ll Be Pizza for more information on Mitchell’s firing.
Hannaford issued a recall for all Portland Pie dough and cheese products sold between August 1 and October 11 at its 184 stores in New York, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine.
‘After what is believed to be further malicious tampering incidents involving metal objects inserted into Portland Pie products, Hannaford has removed all Portland Pie products from all store shelves and has paused replenishment of the products indefinitely,’ a statement read.
Hannaford (pictured) issued a recall for all Portland Pie dough and cheese products
‘Out of an abundance of caution, Hannaford has expanded its recall for Portland Pie pizza dough to include all Portland Pie branded products at all Hannaford stores,’ said spokesperson Ericka Dodge.
That recall was later expanded to Shaw’s and Star Markets. No injuries or illnesses related to the incident were reported.
Under a plea agreement, Mitchell will face four years and nine months in prison, according to NEWS CENTER Maine. Mitchell will also be required to pay restitution to victims for an undisclosed amount.
No date has been set for his sentencing yet.