A report of tainted Halloween candy in Oakdale last year was a hoax, police said Thursday, and a man accused of committing it was arrested.
Mathew Blackcloud, 32, of Oakdale faces a charge of making a false report of food tampering, the Oakdale Police Department said in a news release.
Police said last year that a family reported finding metal pieces in several types of packaged chocolate after trick-or-treating in the Burchell Hill Drive area of northeast Oakdale.
The report prompted police and several partners to organize an event three days later where families concerned about their candy could get free replacements.
Over the past several months, police said, Blackcloud kept denying that he knew how the tampering happened. Investigators used DNA analysis and other methods to conclude that Blackcloud placed the objects in the candy, the release said.
“We have determined this report of metal in candy was a hoax perpetuated by Mr. Blackcloud,” Police Chief Scott Heller said. “I want to thank the tenacious efforts of our investigators and our local and federal partners, along with the Serological Research Institute Forensic Lab, for their assistance in bringing closure to this case.”
The case involved metal supposedly placed in Fun Size Snickers and Milky Way bars, mini Mars and Almond Joy bars, and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. Blackcloud claimed that his children received them, police said.
The replacement candy giveaway was called Operation Happy Halloween 2.0 and took place at police headquarters on a Saturday morning. Heller on Thursday thanked donors for “ensuring our kids didn’t get robbed of their trick-or-treating experience as a result of this hoax.”
Blackcloud could get up to a year in jail or prison if convicted, according to the California Penal Code. Information on his bail amount and first court appearance were not available Thursday night.