A suspect was sought by police in Germany after sending an email to selected grocery stores demanding a $12 million ransom otherwise he would place poisoned foodstuffs, particularly Baby Food, on the shelves of German stores. After police received reports of poisoned baby food in a store, they released surveillance camera images of a man they believe to be the food store extortionist. Tip-offs have led to the arrest of a 55-year-old man near the town of Tübingen on Friday evening.

German police believe they have the suspect in custody

While initially, they were unsure whether they had the right man, German police said Saturday that they believe they have arrested the food store extortionist.

Members of the public had tipped off the police after viewing the surveillance images and the 55-year-old was arrested on Friday evening in Tübingen.

Consumers should still check safety seals on food products

German officials did not release the names of the food stores that had been targeted but did say there was no reason for the public to panic. They did, however, urge shoppers to carefully check safety seals on food products they purchase and report anything that looked like it had been tampered with.

After the threats were issued by the extortionist, authorities had found five jars of poisoned baby food in a Friedrichshafen grocery store in southern Germany in mid-September. The jars had been opened and laced with ethylene glycol, a compound used in antifreeze.

The substance is colorless, odorless and has a sweet taste, but can lead to brain damage, kidney failure and death if consumed. Surveillance footage had captured the image of the man as he placed the jars on the shelf. According to a report by the BBC, no injuries were reported relating to the poisoned food.

Hotline flooded with calls after sharing surveillance images

A spokesman for Konstanz Police, Markus Sauter, said in a statement that after releasing the images of the suspect last week more than 650 people contacted police on a special hotline, but officials said no concrete lead to the suspect had emerged at that stage. Reportedly the calls continue to come in and police have 12 officers manning the phone lines 24 hours a day.

As reported by Deutsche Welle, drugstore employees in the city of Peine, around 320 miles from Friedrichshaften, had also contacted police to say they had spotted a man similar to that in the surveillance images, but said he left before they could stop him.

While police believe they do have the suspect in custody, there was reportedly no confirmation that it was the man pictured in the surveillance images. German police say they will release more information as they have it.