German authorities informed the public on Wednesday this week that supermarket chains across the country had received an email which stated that food had been poisoned and unless a 10 million Euro (12 million dollars) ransom would be paid, the poisoning would only widen.
After this is it all escalated very quickly. The following day police across Germany released pictures of a 53-year old man wearing glasses and a white hat and … remarkably for the time of year, gloves in a supermarket in the area of Friedrichshafen, near Konstanz.
He had sprayed ethylene glycol via a syringe into multiple jars of baby food. Thanks to CCTV from within the supermarket police officers were able to identify which jars had been contaminated and in order to be sure they closed the supermarket for several hours and confiscated all products in that isle to check them.
<blockquote class="twitter-video" data-lang="en-gb"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">🆘‼️👮🔥<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Germany?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Germany</a>: CCTV from the police of an blackmailer in <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Friedrichshafen?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Friedrichshafen</a>. He poisoned baby food & calls for a two-digit of millions amount. <a href="https://t.co/gIPztdrP9z">pic.twitter.com/gIPztdrP9z</a></p>— Onlinemagazin (@OnlineMagazin) <a href="https://twitter.com/OnlineMagazin/status/913677976813883392?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">29 September 2017</a></blockquote>
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The jars which he had injected contained ethylene glycol, an odourless and colourless toxic liquid that has a sweet taste and is known to attract children and animals. He got it from subtracting it from anti-freeze products. According to health experts, the substance can cause kidney failure, brain damage and eventually death if used in a high concentration in a food product. No one was injured.
Thanks to a whopping 650 tips from the public, the man was arrested on Friday and has confessed yesterday.
According to police officers, the 53-year-old man (who has not been named) carried out his act ‘alone’. He appeared before a judge in a closed session and admitted the facts, also revealing that he had not poisoned any other products than the ones already known to investigators.
In order not to spread panic or cause harm to any type of supermarket, police have refused to state exactly which retailer was targeted.
They told the public that there is no further need to worry, but shoppers should always remain vigilant and check the safety seals on products. If they suspect future tampering, they should report the authorities. German police received widespread praise for their quick handling of the case.