UPDATED 2:24 p.m. EDT, July 5 —
Police in Texas said they found and questioned the person seen on a viral video licking inside a half-gallon of Blue Bell ice cream in a grocery store before putting the container back in a freezer for an unsuspecting shopper to buy. The Lufkin Police Department posted a detailed update to its Facebook page on Friday saying that the suspect — they called her the “Blue Bell licker” — was not an adult, so her name was not being made public. The post was accompanied by a graphic that said, “CASE CLOSED.”
Because of her age, the police said she wouldn’t be charged as an adult and were instead referring her to the Texas Juvenile Justice Department. And while that sounds like better news than the previous reports of her facing up to 20 years for a food tampering felony, the Lufkin Police Department — which did not say whether an arrest was made — said her case “remains under investigation.”
It was also because of her age that the department said it would not be charging her as an adult. There was no indication of whether she was arrested.
The fate of her boyfriend was another story, police said, noting in what appeared to be a typo that he “is an adult, as well.” The cops went on to say that they were “discussing his involvement with prosecutors.”
The Facebook post said the suspect was from San Antonio and willingly cooperated with police when they tracked her down. Police said they were initially “catfished” — when someone online pretends to be someone who they are not — by someone with a similar screen name to the suspect.
UPDATED: 6:30 p.m. July 4 —
Police in a Texas town said it was planning to the woman seen on a video licking inside of an ice cream container before putting it back in a supermarket freezer where unsuspecting shoppers could have ended up buying it. The Lufkin Police Department has reviewed surveillance footage from inside a Walmart there, where they say the woman did the dirty deed.
“Our detectives are working to confirm the identity of the female suspect seen in a viral video of her licking a half-gallon of Blue Bell “Tin Roof” ice cream in a Lufkin Walmart store around 11 p.m. June 28,” Lufkin Police & Fire wrote on its Facebook page Wednesday. “Once her identity is verified, detectives will proceed with getting a warrant for her arrest on a charge of second-degree felony tampering with a consumer product.”
A conviction for second-degree felony tampering with a consumer product “carries a punishment of 2-20 years,” according to CBS News.
Police said it was also looking for her accomplice who filmed the brief clip that went viral.
“[D]etectives are focusing on identifying the male (in the green shirt) behind the camera seen in images of the two entering the store together,” the brief statement on Facebook said.
It was unclear what kind of charge he could face.
While an arrest seemed to be looming, the apparent damage was already done after at least two other videos emerged on social media recently showing other people opening ice cream containers in stores, licking them and putting them back in freezers. It could become the latest viral challenge.
Original story from July 2:
Twitter users were claiming they have identified the woman seen on a viral video licking the inside of a gallon container of Blue Bell ice cream before giddily putting it back in a supermarket freezer to potentially be bought by another shopper.
A person who operates the Instagram account that goes by the handle xx.asiaaa.xx was allegedly the woman who did the dirty deed after being urged on by the person filming her tampering with food, which is a felony in Texas, where the episode allegedly took place.
Prior to Twitter users claiming to know the person’s identity, a growing number of tweets were saying that the video was recorded in a grocery store in San Antonio. Coverage from MySanantonio.com, the online version of the San Antonio Express-News, and the Houston Chronicle reported that, as well.
The Texas-based ice cream company said it was “working with police after the video surfaced on Twitter over the weekend,” according to ABC News.
As of late Tuesday morning, all authorities apparently had to go on was a nine-second video clip that’s been shared millions of times on social media since the weekend, when it first surfaced. The video starts off with the unidentified Black woman smiling with her tongue hanging out of her mouth over an open container of Blue Bell ice cream before the person filming urges her to take a lick. The woman happily complies before quickly covering the ice cream back up and returning it to a grocery store freezer, all while smiling before chucking up deuces to the camera. Then the video ends, just like that.
Watch the troubling footage below.
The extent of police’s involvement was initially unclear, but the woman could be guilty of a felony depending since the apparent food tampering crime took place in Texas. Elsewhere, the same offense can be a misdemeanor.
Blue Bell responded to a number of people on Twitter released a statement of gratitude to those who first brought the video to the ice cream company’s attention.
“We want to thank our consumers for alerting us to the recent food tampering incident. We take this issue very seriously and are currently working with law enforcement, retail partners and social media platforms. This type of incident will not be tolerated.
“Food safety is a top priority, and we work hard to provide a safe product and maintain the highest level of confidence from our consumers.
“During production, our half gallons are flipped upside down and sent to a hardening room where the ice cream freezes to create a natural seal. The lids are frozen tightly to the carton. Any attempt at opening the product should be noticeable.
“We will continue to monitor this situation.”
The Food and Drug Administration has measures in place for reporting the type of food tampering seen on the video.