Man arrested after allegedly pouring chemicals on food at multiple grocery stores
A man has been arrested after being caught allegedly caught pouring chemicals onto items at several grocery stores, according to the FBI.
David Clare Lohr, a 48-year-old homeless man, was taken into custody last Wednesday in northern California by the FBI, after being caught on surveillance pouring bleach onto several food and drink items in at least three grocery stores located around southern California.
"To date, there have been no known reports of individuals sickened by Lohr’s actions; however, further investigation has determined that Lohr has done this in a variety of stores, and the extent of his actions are currently under investigation," said the FBI, in a statement made after Lohr's arrest.
According to the FBI, Lohr was captured on camera picking up a container of bleach in a grocery store located on Manhattan Beach back on December 14. Scarcely more than a minute later, Lohr was pictured pouring a container of said bleach into a refrigerator containing beer, before putting the container down and walking out without paying for anything.
The FBI said he was then recorded repeating the trick on December 16 in nearby Redondo Beach, and on this occasion, two customers complained about the bleach. One customer was unhappy with the smell, while another arrived with her son, concerned that the chemicals had stained the boy's T-shirt.
The FBI say that an employee then went to investigate, finding a small bottle of bleach and briefly getting overwhelmed by the fumes. He also felt the tingle of bleach when picking up other bags, the FBI reported, adding that 20 bags of ice had to be thrown out as a result.
Lohr remained at large after the New Year, with a West Hollywood grocery store also picking up footage of the 48-year-old tampering with frozen shrimp. However, Lohr was arrested February 6 after police responded to a report that he was pouring hydrogen peroxide and salt at a bus stop.
Authorities say that Lohr also did the same to rotisserie chickens at a nearby market in Sunnyvale, but the FBI are still in the process of investigating just how many locations Lohr had actually attacked with chemicals.
It then emerged that this wasn't the first time that Lohr had been attacking stores with potentially dangerous chemicals - he was arrested for a similar offence back in October, when Lohr was taken into custody in the neighbouring state of Arizona.
Lohr was caught by grocery store employees pouring chemicals on food items (including frozen pizzas, ice cream and fresh beef) at a Target located in Ahwatukee Foothills, with police saying he may have carried out similar acts on other stores in the area.
Booked into Maricopa County jail and held on a $10,000 bond, Lohr initially confessed that he poured peroxide on food items, but told a Superior Court judge: "I'm not guilty". It was believed that Lohr had been staying in a hotel, having recently arrived in Arizona, and in subsequent interviews, Lohr explained his reasoning behind the bleachings: he said he was removing "invisible chemicals" from the food items.
"Because stores security is using invisible chemicals. It was one bottle of Hydrogen Peroxide. It was off their shelf from the Target. It makes the chemicals go away. I put it in the bottom of the cooler, so it was not in the food. It was not on top of the food in any way, so it had no contact with any food."
After his most recent arrest, Lohr was charged with tampering, as well as attempted tampering with consumer products.