Live 5 News reports that Investigators say a laboratory test has confirmed that a substance a man sprayed on produce at a West Ashley Harris Teeter contained human feces and E. Coli contaminates.
On Friday, law enforcement charged Pau Hang with tampering food products, and was given a $100,000 bond. This comes after he was originally given a $100,000 bond for malicious injury to personal property and a $465 bond for trespassing.
Officials identified Hang as a disgruntled, former contractor at the store on 975 Savannah Highway.
Newly released court records state a bottle that Hang used to spray produce at the Harris Teeter on Sunday tested positive for human feces and E. coli.
Additionally, investigators say Hang confessed to detectives that he sprayed the produce with a substance containing his feces and urine that he mixed in his vehicle prior to entering the business.
“The defendant continued to state that he intentionally exposed the produce with the forethought and knowledge that it would likely be purchased and consumed by Harris Teeter customers,” an affidavit read.
According to authorities, surveillance video showed the suspect spraying the contents of the bottle onto the produce and “adjacent fresh food departments.”
Court records state customers were also seen on the same video continuing to walk to and make purchases in those exposed areas of the store.
The affidavit read that the damage to the exposed produce and merchandise was initially valued at $3,000, but due to the level of exposure and the merchandise affected in conjunction with the cleanup, the total damage was estimated at nearly $100,000.
Harris Teeter released the following statement on the day of the incident:
Food safety and quality are paramount to Harris Teeter. We were extremely alarmed and disappointed to learn that today, a disgruntled, former contractor attempted to contaminate food products in the Produce department and Fresh Foods department inside our St. Andrews Shopping Center location. Our valued associates immediately took action – closing down affected departments and notifying appropriate team members. Additionally, our associates properly discarded any and all product that was exposed to contamination as well as thoroughly cleaned and sanitized affected areas.
In an abundance of caution, Harris Teeter has proactively contacted the Charleston County Department of Health. The affected departments will not re-open without the Charleston County Department of Health’s approval.