MARYLAND

Rodney Cole Sparks fined for selling outdated meat

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FRONT ROYAL, Va. (AP) - A Maryland man described by supermarket employees as a "Dumpster diver" has been fined $1,000 and given two years' probation after pleading guilty to selling outdated meat at his Virginia store.

Warren County prosecutors say 54-year-old Rodney Cole Sparks pleaded guilty Tuesday to 10 misdemeanor counts of offering adulterated meat for sale at a Front Royal discount store. The Monrovia, Md. man was originally charged with 10 felony counts and faced up to five years on each.

Sparks' attorney Bradley G. Pollack told The Frederick News-Post that his client denied selling adulterated meat, but agreed to the plea deal because he would have been found guilty if supermarket employees denied giving him the meat. The attorney said if that happened, prosecutors could have argued the meat was improperly stored.

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