Man Arrested in Grape Juice Tampering That Sickened Churchgoers

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Five months after tainted grape juice sickened more than 40 people during a church communion service, police on Monday arrested an employee of the store where the juice had been purchased.

Wendell Woodroffe, 28, was charged with 22 counts of assault and 22 counts of assault of a victim 60 or older, said Darien police Lt. Ron Bussell. Bail was set at $50,000 and he was expected to be arraigned Tuesday, Bussell said.

"We're very happy we brought it to a conclusion," Bussell said. "Everyone wanted to make sure this didn't happen again."

More than 40 people became ill during a communion service Feb. 5 at Calvary Baptist Church in Darien. Five people were treated at hospitals for nausea and vomiting.

Woodroffe also was charged in a previously unreported incident involving alleged tampered with prune juice that sickened a Darien woman in December. That incident came to light after the church illnesses, Bussell said.

Woodroffe, of Stamford, plans to plead not guilty, said his lawyer, Philip Russell.

"Obviously the charges are very serious," Russell said. "We need to study much of what has been done in the past several months, which at this point is unknown."