Friday, 12 April 2024

Lakeport Safeway reopens produce section after suspected tampering investigated


LAKEPORT, Calif. – After being closed down for cleaning and an investigation on Wednesday, the Lakeport Safeway's produce section reopened early in the evening.

Customers arriving at the store on 11th Street Wednesday reported encountered a closed off produce section with store staff unable to elaborate on the reasons.

“It's back up and running,” Susan Houghton, Safeway's director of public affairs, said at around 5 p.m. Wednesday.

The issue that prompted the closure was a man who reported having tampered with the food the night before, Houghton said.

“We had a customer who indicated that he might have intentionally tried to sabotage the food in the produce area,” she said. “Any time that situation occurs, whether it's real or not, we have to take it very seriously.”

Typically in such a situation, the store will remove all of the food in the area – much of it is thrown away – and the area is thoroughly cleaned, Houghton explained.

Houghton said local police received the initial report and it was relayed to Safeway. However, Lakeport Police Chief Kevin Burke said his agency didn't receive the report.

“We had nothing to do with it and I have no knowledge of the incident,” he said.

Burke said he spoke with a Safeway manager who said she couldn't discuss the matter with him without permission of the corporate office.

That leads to the possibility the report was made to the sheriff's office. However, the sheriff's office couldn't be reached for comment after the close of business Wednesday, when Lake County News confirmed Lakeport Police hadn't handled the call.

Houghton said Safeway is trying to get to the bottom of the issue. She said they're working with security to review the video to see if it indicates that the man – whose name was not available Wednesday – actually did something.

“So far we haven't been able to find any evidence of tampering but we're taking a lot of precautions,” she said.

E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Follow Lake County News on Twitter at and on Facebook at

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