OAKLAND, Calif. (KTVU) - David Lohr, 48, a transient, is sitting in jail, accused of tampering with food at two Safeway stores in Sunnyvale. But in a jailhouse interview with KTVU, Lohr said he had done nothing wrong.
Deputy Mike Low of the Santa Clara County sheriff's office believes otherwise.
"Bleach had been poured on some eggs as well as beer bottles," Low said.
Investigators say surveillance images show Lohr in shorts, in a Safeway where other food was contaminated.
"There were reports of an empty hydrogen peroxide bottle that was located in the heating tray of some rotisserie chickens," Low said.
Last fall, Lohr was accused of pouring a mixture of vinegar and hydrogen peroxide in coolers at Target stores in Arizona.
And in Los Angeles, federal prosecutors say he poured bleach into grocery-store freezers containing ice, beer and frozen shrimp.
"This is a bizarre case, which could have led to some serious public-health issues," Low said.
KTVU crime reporter Henry Lee went to visit Lohr at a downtown Oakland jail, where he's awaiting transfer to Los Angeles. Cameras weren't allowed.
Lohr denied committing any crimes. Hypothetically speaking, he said someone poured bleach under the food - not on it - to make the air cleaner, so clean that now "you can see snow in the mountains."
Told that investigators say a child carrying a bag of contaminated ice had his black shirt turned brown from bleach, Lohr became angry and said, "Is that a crime?"
He said he was not mentally ill.
Authorities say the suspect uses public transportation and that his downfall was two observant VTA drivers..
"The initial bus driver that was driving the bus saw the individual pouring a substance on board a VTA bus," said transit agency spokeswoman Holly Perez. "Once that suspect left the vehicle, a second operator spotted the suspect in Los Altos."
Authorities say the suspect poured salt and hydrogen peroxide on the bus.
Although Lohr is in custody, the FBI is still asking anyone who may have interacted with him to come forward.
Safeway says all the affected products have been removed from shelves and that inspections by the health department found "no areas of concern."