Lake Tahoe food poisoning suspect faces more felony charges
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — The suspect arrested in connection with food tampering at the South Lake Tahoe Raley’s is still in custody and has been charged with two more felony counts.
Officials at the South Lake Tahoe Police Department arrested 43-year-old Harry Dally on Nov. 23, and originally charged him with a single felony count of intentionally dispensing a contaminating substance capable of causing death or injury on food items.
As of Nov. 29, Dally has been charged with two more felony counts — one for an additional instance of food tampering at Raley’s and another for the same crime at Baja Fresh Mexican Grill.
Investigators were able to officially link the food tampering cases at Raley’s and Baja Fresh after securing surveillance footage from Baja Fresh last week.
Since it was publicized that a 12-year-old was hospitalized for symptoms of food poisoning from eating at Baja Fresh, two more individuals have come forward to report incidents of illness after eating at the Mexican grill on Nov. 19.
A female visitor was hospitalized in San Diego after a meal at Baja Fresh in South Lake Tahoe, and another local resident reported getting sick after eating at Baja Fresh on that same day, but did not go to the hospital.
South Lake Tahoe Police Department spokesman Lt. Brian Williams said that they are still waiting for official confirmation on what substance Dally allegedly put on food at the two Crescent V Shopping Center establishments.
“We are working closely with the California Department of Health, and they have a number of different tests that are set up for things like Salmonella,” explained Williams. “For what we think the substance may likely be, they don’t have a test available. They have to create the test, and that takes them a bit of time.”
So far, police have only indicated the substance has a strong chemical odor similar to bleach.
Williams said the identity of the substance would not likely be known for at least another week.
According to Williams, investigators were able to identify Dally as the suspect in the case because he had been caught shoplifting from Raley’s last summer.
“Last summer he was caught attempting to shoplift dog food, and the security officer did not call the police. He bought the food for him, but he did take a picture of him,” said Williams.
From this shoplifting incident, there was video footage of Dally and his dogs outside the store — the same dogs that were present in footage from the food tampering case.
In the course of executing a search warrant at Dally’s South Lake Tahoe residence, police also found the clothing, backpack and bicycle captured by the surveillance cameras.
According to Williams, Dally has not given any indication of why he poisoned the food at Raley’s and Baja Fresh.
“I’m not sure what this man’s issues are,” said Williams.