Sunday, 21 April 2024

Lucerne man arrested in alleged Safeway food tampering

Lake County Sheriff's deputies arrested Roger Bart Gordon, 46, on Thursday, August 19, 2010, after he allegedly made statements about putting feces on his hands and touching produce at the Safeway in Lakeport, Calif. Lake County Jail booking photo.

LUCERNE, Calif. – A Lucerne man has been arrested after allegedly claiming that he contaminated food in the produce section at the Lakeport Safeway this week.

Roger Bart Gordon, 46, was arrested at 1:30 p.m. Thursday in Lucerne for making malicious statements of mingling a harmful substance with food or drink, which is a felony, according to Capt. James Bauman of the Lake County Sheriff's Office.

At the time of his arrest, Gordon also was found to be in possession of a nonprescribed controlled substance, another felony charge. Bauman said Gordon was booked on both charges at the Lake County Jail, where he remained in custody with bail set at $10,000.

Specifically, Gordon had made statements that he had intentionally put fecal matter on produce items at the store, Bauman said.

The Lakeport Safeway closed its produce session temporarily after it received a report about Gordon's allegations, corporate spokesperson Susan Houghton told Lake County News on Wednesday.

She said the company took any threats seriously, and accordingly the section was shut down for part of Wednesday for cleaning and replacement of food products.

Bauman said that the issues that led to Gordon's arrest began on Tuesday morning, when sheriff's deputies responded to the Lucerne Community Clinic on Highway 20 where Gordon allegedly was creating a disturbance.

Deputies contacted Gordon at the scene and told him not to return to the clinic, but later that afternoon he returned anyway, which Bauman said resulted in the deputies going back to the clinic and transporting Gordon to Sutter Lakeside Hospital for a mental health evaluation.

Bauman said the hospital subsequently discharged Gordon who, while at the hospital, told staff he was having irrational thoughts. Those thought included considering going to the Lakeport Safeway with feces on his hands and touching the produce.

Sheriff's deputies contacted the Lakeport Safeway management on Wednesday morning about Gordon. Bauman said that while the investigation didn't positively conclude that the produce had been contaminated, Safeway still purged and sanitized the produce section as a precaution.

The Sheriff’s Department reminded all consumers to be mindful of any food product that comes into contact with others. Fresh food products in particular, should always by thoroughly cleaned before consumption.

Bauman confirmed to Lake County News that the sheriff's office has had several previous contacts with Gordon.

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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