Davis County authorities are investigating a rash of crimes at local grocery stores they believe were committed by animal-rights activists.
From November to December a group claiming a loose affiliation with the national group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals allegedly vandalized four stores in Layton, Kaysville and Centerville.Court documents say the vandals destroyed about $3,000 worth of hair care products, detergents and meat.
Surveillance footage and descriptions by store employees led to the arrest of a 20-year-old Layton man in February. More suspects are being sought.
Justin Snyder has been charged with two counts of third-degree felony criminal mischief and one count of class-A criminal mischief.
Marjie Davis, assistant manager of Bowman's Marketplace in Kays-ville, said clerks saw Snyder and others dump more than $400 worth of shampoo and conditioners on the floor, slash boxes of laundry detergent and put stickers on meat products.
The stickers say: "Warning! This package contains the decomposing corpse of a small, tortured bird."
The group is suspected of doing the same thing at the Albertsons across the street, and the same stickers were found on meat packages at the Ream's in Layton.
At the Albertsons in Centerville, a cart full of meat was left to rot in a remote part of the store.
Snyder is the only person who has been arrested and charged, but Centerville Detective Neal Worsley said other arrests are expected. Snyder admits to placing the stickers, which he said he ordered through a PETA catalog, but denies destroying products.
Worsley said he has no problem with people choosing to be vegetarians and boycotting products. But he has zero tolerance for those who cross the line into criminal behavior.