A Monrovia man was arraigned Monday for allegedly trying to sell meat he found in grocery store trash bins.
Rodney L. Sparks, of 3990 Daisy Court in Monrovia, was indicted in June in Warren County, Va., Circuit Court on 10 counts of offering adulterated and misbranded meat for sale. The criminal complaint against Sparks alleges that he took packages of unsold meat from a trash bin in Berryville, Va., and then tried to resell them, according to court documents.
The 10 counts stem from alleged incidents from Aug. 19, 2011, to Jan. 29.
F.C. Lamneck, an enforcement officer with Virginia’s Office of Meat and Poultry Services, who signed the complaint, described the meat as “temperature abused, freezer burned, putrid, decomposed, unsound, unhealthful, unwholesome, and [appearing to be] unfit for human consumption,” according to the criminal complaint.
Lamneck found the meat packages, which he told Sparks were “misbranded, uninspected and appeared to be altered,” on Feb. 2 in a store Sparks was operating at 654 W. 11 St. in Front Royal, with labels from grocery stores in the Front Royal area, including Food Lion, Weis and Safeway, according to the complaint. The packages were traced to a Food Lion in Berryville, Va. The meat was identified by a manager as originally being from the Food Lion, documents state.
Food Lion store employees recognized Sparks and his car and said he had visited the store several times. They also said they remembered seeing him removing store “food items and other products from the Food Lion dumpster,” according to the complaint. Sparks was arrested March 1 by the Front Royal Police Department.
Brian Madden, the commonwealth attorney for Warren County, said there is no evidence of Sparks allegedly selling or trying to sell any adulterated or misbranded food items in Maryland.
“I don’t recall during the investigation of any evidence that he was doing the same thing in Maryland,” he said.
Madden said Sparks, who is currently out of jail on $15,000 bail, could get from one to five years in prison for conviction of each count.
Sparks is scheduled for a pretrial hearing on Sept. 18, according to court records.