A Scarborough company that produces pizza dough and cheese notified more of its retailers Monday to recall its products, and the man suspected of putting razor blades in dough sold at the Saco Hannaford is scheduled to appear in a New Hampshire court Tuesday.

Nicholas R. Mitchell, 38, was arrested Sunday night and charged as a fugitive from justice in Dover, New Hampshire, based on an arrest warrant from the Saco Police Department. Saco police have not said what charges Mitchell will face for allegedly putting razor blades in pizza dough at the local Hannaford.

Nicholas Mitchell Maine Department of Corrections

Authorities have not said what might have motivated the food tampering. Mitchell is a former employee of It’ll Be Pizza, the Scarborough company that makes several brands of dough, including the Portland Pie Co. dough that was tampered with in Saco. It’ll Be Pizza’s chief executive said on Monday that dough sold by other retailers also may have been affected.

Saco police cited reports that packages of pizza dough had been tampered with at other supermarkets in Maine and in other states, but did not say whether Mitchell was a suspect in those cases.  Saco police said Mitchell would be extradited back to Maine.

No injuries or illnesses have been reported in connection with the food tampering case.

Mitchell remained in custody at the Strafford County Jail in Dover on Monday and declined a request to be interviewed.

A customer at the Saco Hannaford’s found razor blades in Portland Pie pizza dough purchased at the store on Oct. 5. But the police investigation widened in subsequent days, and on Sunday Hannaford issued a product recall for all Portland Pie dough and cheese products sold at its 184 stores in New York, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine. The recall is retroactive to Aug. 1, Hannaford spokeswoman Ericka Dodge said.

“Hannaford Supermarkets has issued a recall for all Portland Pie cheese and Portland Pie fresh dough sold in the deli department,” Hannaford said in its recall statement. “After what is believed to be further malicious tampering incidents involving metal objects inserted into Portland Pie products, Hannaford has removed all Portland Pie products from all store shelves and has paused replenishment of the products indefinitely.”

The grocery store chain said that “out of an abundance of caution, Hannaford has expanded its recall for Portland Pie pizza dough to include all Portland Pie branded products at all Hannaford stores.”

Hannaford has not said how many tampering incidents have been reported or where they allegedly happened. Dodge referred all questions about the incidents to the Saco Police Department.

“We’re looking to them to take the lead in what is sharable and what is not,” she said.

It’ll Be Pizza in Scarborough makes pizza dough that is distributed throughout New England. Nicholas R. Mitchell, whom police say is suspected of putting razor blades in dough at the Saco Hannaford, is a former employee of It’ll Be Pizza. Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer

On Monday, Shaw’s supermarkets followed suit. Teresa Edington, spokeswoman for Shaw’s and Star Market, issued a statement advising customers that the supermarket chain would be removing all Portland Pie pizza dough from the shelves of its supermarkets in Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont and Rhode Island.

Edington was unable to provide the exact number of stores affected by the recall.

“At Shaw’s and Star Market, we take the quality and safety of our products very seriously,” Edington said. “Our stores are removing from sale Portland Pie Co. pizza dough. Customers who purchased any of these items may return them to any Shaw’s or Star Market store for a full refund.”

Portland Pie branded products are supplied by It’ll Be Pizza, which operates a manufacturing facility in Scarborough that provides frozen pizza dough to retail pizza shops, supermarkets, schools and restaurants in every state in New England and beyond, according to the company website.

Saco police said Mitchell is a former employee of It’ll Be Pizza, but would not say how long ago he worked there or provide details about the circumstances of his departure.

Mike White, CEO of It’ll Be Pizza, released a statement on Monday confirming that Mitchell is a former employee. He also said the incident “has no direct connection to the Portland Pie Co. restaurants or to any of their menu items.”

The company has been working with law enforcement and has reached out to its other retail distributors to recall products as Hannaford has done, White said. He did not name those retailers. The Portland Pie Co. products made by It’ll Be Pizza are sold at Hannaford, Shaw’s and Big Y Supermarkets, according to the company website.

“Due to the ongoing nature of the criminal investigation, we cannot make further comment at this time,” White said in the statement. “We remain committed to our customers, our distribution partners, and to the continued excellence and safety of our products.”

Portland Pie Company issued a statement on its Facebook page Monday night telling its customers that “the incident has no direct connection to Portland Pie Company restaurants or to any of its menu items.”

“The suspect was an ex-employee of It’ll Be Pizza. It’ll Be Pizza has been working closely with law enforcement and its retail supermarket partners,” Portland Pie Company stated. Portland Pie said that anyone with questions should contact It’ll Be Pizza at [email protected]

Saco Deputy Chief of Police Corey Huntress said Monday that additional tampering incidents have been reported in Sanford and Dover. Sanford police did not respond Monday to requests for information about possible food tampering incidents there.

Lt. Brant Dolleman of the Dover Police Department said Mitchell, who was arrested around 6:30 p.m. Sunday at a house in Dover, is not facing any local charges related to food tampering. Police in Dover have heard rumors of tampering, but no incidents have been reported, he said. Mitchell is scheduled to appear in Dover (New Hampshire) Circuit Court on Tuesday.

Anyone who believes they purchased food that has been tampered with should call police, Dolleman said.

“I want people to be aware, but I don’t want people to be terrified,” he said.

Hannaford said the recall timeline includes all Portland Pie pizza products purchased between Aug. 1 and Sunday.

Customers who purchased Portland Pie pizza dough and Portland Pie cheese at any Hannaford deli between those dates should not consume the products and may return the product for a full refund. Customers are also being urged to check storage areas, including freezers, for product that may have been purchased during that timeframe.

Mitchell is currently on probation in Maine after pleading guilty in September 2018 to one count of criminal threatening with a dangerous weapon, a felony, according to the Maine Department of Corrections and the State Bureau of Identification, which holds criminal history record information. Details of that case were not available Monday.

Mitchell was sentenced to two years in prison and two years probation, with all but seven days of the custodial sentence suspended, the records show. He was last listed as living in the Biddeford area, but also has ties to Sanford, according to the records.

Mitchell also was charged with theft in 2018, but he pleaded to another charge not specified in his criminal history record and he was ultimately fined $500. He has one pending case in York County from May, when he was charged with violating the conditions of his release.

Staff Writer Dennis Hoey contributed to this report.

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