The Maine man accused of putting a razor blade and a screw into pizza dough at Hannaford stores has been indicted on multiple federal charges.


This photo released Oct. 12, 2020, shows Nicholas Mitchell, who is accused of putting a razor blade and a screw in pizza dough sold at the Hannaford supermarket in Saco. Dover, N.H., police via AP

A federal grand jury this week indicted Nicholas R. Mitchell, 38, on two charges of tampering with a consumer product. He is accused of putting a screw into pizza dough on Sept. 11, 2020, and a razor blade into dough on Oct. 5, according to the indictment.

Mitchell is scheduled to appear in court on Monday.

Mitchell was arrested in October after police in Saco, Sanford and Dover, New Hampshire, began investigating reports that customers had found razor blades and metal fragments in Portland Pie Co. pizza dough sold at Hannaford supermarkets. He was initially charged with reckless conduct with a dangerous weapon and violating the conditions of his release, which prohibited him from engaging in new criminal conduct or possessing dangerous weapons, including razor blades.

The Sanford Hannaford received reports of the suspected tampering in August, but did not report it to police until Saco police began investigating a report in October. Saco police said two Hannaford customers returned bags of fresh Portland Pie Co. dough purchased Oct. 5 because they contained razor blades and sharp metal fragments. In Sanford, two customers returned bags of fresh dough that contained a razor blade or razor blade fragment.

There were no reports of injuries or illnesses from the alleged tampering.


After the contaminated dough was found, Hannaford issued a product recall for all Portland Pie dough and cheese products sold at its 184 stores in New York, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine. The recall was later expanded to Shaw’s and Star Market stores in five states.

After Mitchell was arrested in October, police affidavits filed in court described how detectives linked Mitchell to the Saco Hannaford and the alleged tampering by using store surveillance video.

The surveillance video showed a man wearing a black face mask, a red shirt, sneakers and jeans enter the store and manipulate the dough balls close to his body before placing them back on the display. The person in the video left the store without making a purchase and went to a silver Toyota Camry that had a mismatched black left front fender. Detectives identified six of the seven characters of the car’s license plate from video of the parking lot.

Detectives learned that Old Orchard Beach police had stopped Mitchell in May of last year for allegedly attaching false plates to a vehicle. The Saco detective reviewed the body-worn camera footage from the stop in Old Orchard Beach, and found Mitchell’s vehicle had the same distinct black replacement fender. Detectives also found surveillance video of Mitchell meeting with his probation officer on Oct. 5 in the lobby of the South Portland Police Department wearing clothing similar to that worn by the person seen on the Hannaford store video that showed someone manipulating the dough bags.

Mitchell, who told police he had been living out of his car, had been fired from his job as a forklift operator for It’ll Be Pizza, the Scarborough company that produces the fresh dough under the Portland Pie label, according to court documents.

Mike White, the company’s CEO, told Saco police that Mitchell worked as a forklift driver at their warehouse in Scarborough, but he was fired last June after he did not show up for work too many times because of unidentified personal problems.

After Mitchell was let go, It’ll Be Pizza received more than 100 harassing phone calls, in which the caller would hold open the line and not say anything when a company employee picked up. The company’s information technology department determined the phone used to make the calls belonged to Mitchell, and matched the number that Mitchell had given his probation officers.

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