The recent arrest of a man who filmed himself licking inside an ice cream container before placing it back in a store freezer underscored a larger trend of food tampering that was apparently popularized after a video of a young girl doing the same went viral earlier this month.
Lenise Martin III, who is 36, was taken into custody by the Assumption Parish Sheriff’s Office for licking inside a half-gallon container of Blue Bell ice cream, the same brand that was used by the unidentified teenager in Texas. Martin could be seen smiling in his mugshot, but food tampering is no laughing matter that can carry still legal penalties.
It also wasn’t funny because it was indicative of a larger problem of copycats inspired by the first video, which featured the girl laughing about doing the dirty deed. In fact, aside from Martin, a number of other people have begun filming themselves licking inside ice cream containers in stores before leaving them for unsuspecting shoppers to buy contaminated products.
“Investigators say after management became aware of the video, Martin returned to the store and showed the clerk a receipt to prove he’d purchased the ice cream,” WAFB reported Sunday.
The arrest came just one day after police in Texas announced they had identified the girl in the first “Blue Bell licker” video that was reportedly filmed in a Walmart near San Antonio. 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.” It was unclear what would happen to the person who filmed the video, as police said that was the girl’s boyfriend who was an adult. His case was being handled by local prosecutors while her case was referred to the Texas Juvenile Justice Department.
Martin’s arrest might help stop other copycats from doing the same, but the damage was already done after the first video emerged.
Additional videos have since surfaced on social media showing other people opening ice cream containers in stores, licking them and putting them back in freezers.