In June of 2019, a viral video surfaced showing a young woman in a grocery store lick a tub of ice cream and then put it back on the shelf. A man can be heard off-camera encouraging the girl’s behavior and telling her to return the tub to the freezer. At the end of the video, the young woman laughed and walked away.
The recording was shared over different social media platforms, and the person who originally posted it said she did not know the people in the footage but put it up to warn others.
The incident occurred at a store in Lufkin, Texas. After learning of what happened, staff located the compromised tub and removed it from the freezer. Blue Bell, the company that makes the ice cream, also had the store take out the remaining half gallon containers of that particular flavor.
Potential Tampering with Consumer Product Charge
When law enforcement began searching for the suspect, they had initially planned to charge her with tampering with consumer product. Under Texas Penal Code 22.09, it is illegal for a person to knowingly alter or add a foreign substance to a food or drug item that is sold to the public.
If the person tampered with the product knowing that it would be sold or given as a gift to a member of the public, they could be charged with a second-degree felony. A conviction carries a penalty of up to 20 years in prison. However, if the person’s actions resulted in serious bodily injury of another, they could face a first-degree felony charge. The punishment for being found guilty of this offense includes up to 99 years to life in prison.
The individual could also face a third-degree felony charge if they altered a consumer product, intending to cause fear or bodily injury or to affect the sale of that item. If convicted, the person could face up to 10 years in prison.
Case to Be Handled by the Texas Juvenile Justice Department
Less than a week after the investigation began, law enforcement officials claimed to have identified the suspect as a 17-year-old girl. Under state law, anyone 17 years of age or younger is considered a juvenile. As such, the young woman in the video will not be charged as an adult, and the matter will be handled as a juvenile crime.
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