Man who put razor blades in pizza dough sentenced to prison


FILE— This booking photo released Monday, Oct. 12, 2020, by the Dover, N.H., Police Department shows Nicholas Mitchell, of Dover. Mitchell, who was accused of putting razor blades in pizza dough at a Hannaford supermarkets in Maine and New Hampshire, was sentenced Thursday Dec. 2, 2021 to four years and nine months in federal prison.(Dover Police Department via AP, File)

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — A man accused of putting razor blades and screws in pizza dough at supermarkets in Maine and New Hampshire has been sentenced to four years and nine months in prison.

Although 39-year-old Nicholas Mitchell of Dover, New Hampshire, was recovering from COVID-19 contracted in jail, the hearing proceeded on Thursday.

The judge said the crime spread fear in the community, and Mitchell tearfully apologized. He said he wanted revenge on the pizza dough company that fired him, not to hurt anybody.

Supermarket surveillance video showed him handling pizza dough and loitering around a refrigerated case. He was ordered to pay $230,000 in restitution to Hannaford Supermarkets.

Mitchell was arrested in Oct. 2020 after razor blades and screws were found in dough sold at a Hannaford store in Saco, Maine.

Prosecutors said three customers had bought the tampered dough in Saco and discovered the blades and screws hidden inside. Product tampering also occurred at Hannaford stores in Sanford, Maine, and Dover, New Hampshire, prompting investigations by police departments in those communities.

Mitchell was a former employee of “It’ll Be Pizza.” The Scarborough, Maine, company makes several dough brands, including the “Portland Pie Co.” dough that was allegedly tampered with.

Court documents indicated that Mitchell’s life spiraled out of control during the pandemic. First, his girlfriend was out of work. Then, he was arrested following a domestic disturbance that left him homeless and living in his car. Finally, he was fired from his job at “It’ll Be Pizza.”

The maximum penalty for product tampering is 10 years in prison. However, according to court documents, Mitchell agreed not to appeal and received a sentence of four years and nine months.

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