German supermarket food poisoned by extortionist seeking millions

CCTV grab of a suspected blackmailer in a supermarket in Friedrichshafen south-west Germany

A suspect was sought by police in Germany after sending an email to selected grocery stores demanding a $12 million ransom otherwise he would place poisoned foodstuffs, particularly #Baby Food, on the shelves of #German stores.

Authorities believe the baby food was tainted by the same person who threatened last week to poison food in supermarkets and drug stores in Germany and overseas if his demands for money weren't met, according to German news reports.

On Saturday, the main suspect told the custodial judge that he had not poisoned any other products than the ones already known, authorities in the southern city of Konstanz said.

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Several jars of baby food that had been contaminated with a liquid used in anti-freeze were subsequently recovered by police.

A manhunt has been launched in Germany and in neighboring countries for the suspect, believed to be a white male about 50 years old, who was seen on surveillance camera wearing glasses and a white hat.

Local deputy chief of police Uwe Stuermer described the man as "eccentric" and mentally disturbed. Still, police told consumers to check the safety seals on products they buy and report suspected tampering to the authorities.

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The footage has been made public so that officers can, if necessary, rule him out of their inquiries.

Since his arrest on Friday afternoon, prosecutors have said they are confident that the man in custody was behind the blackmail attempt.

"The case is hard because the blackmailer did not say which food will be targeted or what poison he will use", a consumer protection official quoted by Reuters said.

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