German authorities are reporting that they’ve made an arrest after a man tampered with several jars of baby food and attempted to extort grocery stores across Germany for millions of euros.
According to a report published by the New York Post, emails were sent out to multiple companies and police agencies threatening to tamper with jars of baby food unless the stores complied with the sender’s demand for 11.7 million euros.
The suspect, identified as a 53-year-old man, later sent follow-up emails detailing several locations where he had planted tainted jars of the food. After tracking down the poisoned food products, police determined the suspect had slipped ethylene glycol – a sweet, odorless chemical found in anti-freeze – into several jars. Police believe they were able to confiscate all of the jars before they made their way into the public and no injury or illness has been reported as a result of contaminated food.
After releasing images of the suspect to the media, police say they were inundated with hundreds of possible leads. These tips allowed police to track down a suspect. DNA found on the jars was also determined to be a match for the 53-year-old suspected extortionist.
While police say they are confident the suspect they have in custody is the same man believed to have contaminated the baby food, Konstanz deputy chief of police, Uwe Strmer, told media during a press conference, “As far as the further danger of poisoned products is concerned, this has reduced the danger, but it would be too soon to give a complete all-clear.”
Police have not publicly identified the man, but according to Sky News, he could be facing up to 15 years in prison for the extortion attempt, with the possibility of serving life if prosecutors decide to charge the man with attempted murder.