Virginia: Who pees on food?

Bill Wyatt of the Martinsville Bulletin reports two men have been indicted on charges that one of them urinated on food product at Monogram Foods in Martinsville while the other made a video that was used in an attempt to extort money from the company.

Maurice V. Howard and Devin Jamar Stockton, employees of the janitorial company that services Monogram’s plant, were indicted Aug. 8 for tampering with consumer products, conspiracy to tamper with consumer products and extortion.

A three-count indictment issued by a Federal Grand Jury in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia, Danville Division said that Stockton is alleged to have videotaped Howard urinating on food and on a door and doorjamb inside the Monogram manufacturing plant at 200 Knauss Drive in Martinsville on or about Feb. 21 and then attempted to extort money from Monogram and Packers Sanitation Services Inc. between March 1 and March 6.

The two men have been arrested and scheduled for trial in February in Danville.

An application for a search warrant filed Oct. 3 by FBI Special Agent Matthew S. Marlowe with the U.S. District Court Clerk’s Office in Roanoke linked the charges to an Apple iCloud account and describes how investigators used that account to build their cases against Howard and Stockton.

German man sentenced to over 12 years in jail for baby food poisoning

A man who contaminated baby food in Germany has been sent to jail for 12-and-a-half years.

Gavin Grey of Eyewitness News reports the 54-year-old had attempted to blackmail retailers by claiming he would point out the poisoned items in return for cash.

He targeted shops in a southern German city.

In court, he admitted placing poisoned jars of adult and baby food in supermarkets and trying to blackmail the owners.

The contaminated jars contained ethylene glycol which is an odourless and toxic liquid used in antifreeze.

Prosecutors said some of the foods contained enough of the poison to kill a child and he was found guilty of five counts of attempted murder.

He was also found guilty of extortion, sending threatening emails to the stores demanding R200 million.

The court heard it was a matter of luck no child had been hurt.

Dumbass put own address on letter demanding $12.7 million from Brisbane food manufacturer

A Brisbane man tried to extort $12.7 million from a food manufacturer using a video of rats, cockroaches and sharp utensils in or near food, a court has heard.

sq-willard-crispin-glover-rat-nlDaniel Rupert Sridharan is standing trial in the District Court accused of telling the company that unless he was paid $12.7 million he would release footage to showing cockroaches, “a rat in a tub” and “a sharp utensil found (in product)”.

In her opening address to the jury Crown Prosecutor Sarah Farnden said Sridharan wrote a letter to the company — whose name has been suppressed by the court — saying that “(the company) can hide the truth from auditors and customers but can never hide the truth from its own employees.”

“He claims the footage will be sent to (various lobby groups),” Ms Farnden told the jury.

Ms Farnden said Sridharan tried to extort the company in a six-page letter he sent to them on March 16 last year.

The letter allegedly demanded the cash payment in return for not leaking video footage to the authorities and major supermarkets including footage of a rat in the manufacturing facility.

“It was sent by registered post, and had the defendants’ name and address clearly marked as the sender on the envelope,” Ms Farnden said.

Red Bull says it’s being blackmailed with poop threats

Austrian executives of Red Bull say someone is blackmailing the company, threatening to contaminate cans of the energy drink with poop and place them red.bullon supermarket shelves.

What the perps are after, MSN Now is not quite sure. Whatever it is, Red Bull execs say they’re conducting supermarket checks and have found no signs of product tampering.

Condom, razors top today’s yucky food list

A toddler ate a used condom left in the play area of a Chicago McDonald’s, and a couple in Utah decided to plant a bunch of razors in doughnuts to extort cash.

The Chicago Sun-Times reports mother Anishi Spencer’s claims that following a visit to the Gage Park neighborhood McDonald’s on February 4th 2012, her then two year old “coughed up a piece of the condom.” The lawsuit covers Ms. Spencer and her two sons, Jonathan and Jaquel, who Dumb and Dumber 2 Moviewere three and two at the time of the alleged incident respectively. The lawsuit blames McDonald’s for “failing to properly clean hazardous debris from an area used by children” and “for not using surveillance or inspections to uncover any ‘deviant activities’ at its eatery.” The liability suit seeks at least $50,000 in damages.

The Utah couple decided to frame a Smith’s Food and Drug store in Draper, Utah for carrying “tainted food.”

They then proceeded to plant a bunch of razor blades in a box of doughnuts they had purchased, take the box over to the Dollar Store where they worked, open the box and pass the doughnuts around, eating some themselves, and then after having swallowed a bunch of razor blades, complain about it. A co-worker they had offered a doughnut to also suffered injuries, unaware of the scam.

Unfortunately for these great criminal minds, it took all of a few minutes of questioning for police a confession from the couple. Smith’s pulled the doughnuts from store shelves to be safe, and the couple has been charged with filing a false police report and assault.

California restaurants decry ‘Yelp extortion’

Continuing with the gangster theme, mobster hacks are using the Internet to collect points.

The Sacramento Bee reported a few days ago that restaurant owner Sonny Mayugba was given an offer he almost could not refuse two weeks ago.

Not by a local gangster, but by a user of a popular online review site,

Mayugba said the user threatened to blast the Red Rabbit Kitchen and Bar at 2718 J St., which Mayugba co-owns, on Yelp because he believed he and his party got food poisoning from their meals.

Mayugba said it was impossible to prove whether the man got food poisoning from the restaurant but offered to give him a $60 gift card to a restaurant of his choice. The man said he deserved $100. If the restaurant did not pay up, he said he would write a bad Yelp review and report him to health authorities.

Is what happened to the Red Rabbit Kitchen an isolated case? Or has the growth in popularity of restaurant review websites – which allow anyone to write and rate restaurants from one to five stars – created a new way for some people to get preferential treatment.

Restaurant owners say online websites have changed consumer behavior as many people rely more on citizen reviews than on reviews of professional critics or advertisements. Yelp had a monthly average of more than 71 million unique visitors and 27 million reviews worldwide this year from January to the end of March, the company said.

In the end, Mayugba said, he refused to give the man anything and is not sure if the man posted a review on Yelp. But he said the experience made him rethink the value of Yelp and websites like it, which he said he loves.

"I was so upset," Mayugba said. "He was taking something that was inherently good to use it as a tool to extort a restaurant. It was just so wrong."

Kristen Whisenand, public relations manager for Yelp, said in an email that the website allows for users and business owners to flag reviews that violate the website’s terms of service. If it is determined the review is fake, biased or malicious, it will be taken down.

"More people trust citizen reviews these days," said Mayugba, who started a social networking website for the restaurant industry in 2007.

"Social media is a wonderful thing for the world, but when its integrity is compromised, what is it worth?

Wendy’s chili again used for criminal activity

On March 22, 2005, Anna Ayala claimed she found a finger in a bowl of chili at a San Jose Wendy’s restaurant. The finger became the talk of the Internet and late-night talk shows, spawned numerous bizarre tips and theories about the source of the finger, and led to dozens of copycat claims. Wendy’s lost tens of millions of dollars.

Turns out the finger belonged to a co-worker of Ayala’s husband who severed it during a construction accident and was planted in the chili in a misguided attempt to extort money from Wendy’s.

In Jan. 2006, Ayala, 40, was sentenced to nine years; the hubby got more than 12 years.

Two days ago, police in York, Pennsylvania, charged Shelby Lyn Adams, 40 (righ, exactly as shown), of York, with killing her 90-year-old grandmother, Ada Adams, by poisoning her Wendy’s chili with morphine three years ago in York Township.

The investigation lasted about three years — set back by the lengthy gathering of scientific evidence and a change in investigators because of a promotion in 2010, said Chief Thomas Gross with York Area Regional Police.

"The detectives did a thorough job at the scene, which was difficult
considering the death of a 90-year-old woman with no real evidence of a disturbance," Gross said Thursday afternoon.

Police also had to wait on autopsy and forensic results from vomit on Ada Adams’ blouse, which showed the plant substances found in Wendy’s chili, according to court documents.

Gross said that suspicious family members were "very persistent in getting justice for their mother."

Woman found guilty of planting rat in meal at Wisconsin restaurant

Running a restaurant is hard enough without dealing with rats and wackos.

The Post-Crescent reports that a woman who attempted to extort money from an upscale restaurant by putting a rat in her lunch entered no-contest pleas Tuesday to two criminal charges.

Judge Dee Dyer found Debbie R. Miller, 43, guilty after she entered the no-contest pleas to a felony extortion charge and a misdemeanor for obstructing police. She will be sentenced March 8 in Outagamie County Court.

Miller planted a rat in her lunch at The Seasons on April 17, 2008, and then demanded $500,000 from the owners. She threatened to alert the media if the money wasn’t paid.

Bob Doller, who owns The Seasons in Grand Chute with his wife, Jessica, said,

“This has been a long, drawn out battle and it has affected my business. We would hope that if anyone had any doubts that it was a true claim, they would know now that it was extortion. In April, it will be two years since this happened. If you compare 2007 to 2008 (the year of the incident), the loss was tens of thousands of dollars.”

The Dollers kept the rat after the extortion attempt. Insurance investigators sent it for testing and determined that it not only wasn’t a wild rat, but rather a domestic, white rat that had been cooked in a microwave. The restaurant doesn’t use microwaves.