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Blue Bell traces viral licking video to Walmart in Lufkin; police identify woman

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Posted at 5:54 PM, Jul 03, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-03 20:11:05-04

Blue Bell released a statement on Wednesday saying the company has determined that the viral video on social media showing Blue Bell ice cream being tampered with has been traced to a Walmart in Lufkin.

Blue Bell said the company not only removed a carton of Tin Roof ice cream that appeared to have been tampered with, but also the entire stock of Tin Roof ice cream at the Walmart. The investigation has been turned over to the Lufkin Police Department.

Lufkin police posted on their Facebook page on Wednesday saying detectives believe they have identified the woman and that appropriate charges will be filed.

(Lufkin Police Department)

“Our biggest concern is consumer safety – in that regard we are glad to see the tainted product off the shelves,” said Lufkin Director of Public Safety Gerald Williamson. “We are recommending that as a precaution Blue Bell remove products from the Lufkin Walmart shelves until our investigation is complete.”

Lufkin police said social media users identified the woman as being from San Antonio, which led to San Antonio law enforcement believing it was one of their Walmart stores in the video. However, a store display matching the one in the video could not be found.

Investigators next searched Walmart stores in Houston because it was believed that the woman may be living with a boyfriend in that area, but again, a matching store display was not found. Representatives from Blue Bell corporate reached out to division managers to see if anyone could identify the store location.

A Lufkin district manager responded within an hour saying he believed the video was filmed in the Lufkin Walmart. Around 4 p.m., detectives obtained surveillance video placing thre woman matching the description at the Lufkin store on Friday around 11 p.m.

The video, posted last Friday, shows a woman licking the top of a carton of Tin Roof ice cream before returning it to the grocery store freezer shelf. On Monday, Blue Bell released an initial statement saying the company was working with law enforcement and retail partners to identify the store and suspect.

The full statement from Blue Bell reads:

"We have identified a Walmart in Lufkin, Texas, as the store where the malicious act of food tampering took place. Our staff recognized the location in the video, and we inspected the freezer case. We found a Tin Roof half gallon that appears to have been compromised. Based on security footage, the location and the inspection of the carton, we believe we may have recovered the half gallon that was tampered with. Out of an abundance of caution, we have also removed all Tin Roof half gallons from that location.

The Lufkin Police Department has been notified and is taking over the investigation.

The safety of our ice cream is our highest priority, and we work hard to maintain the highest level of confidence of our customers. Food tampering is not a joke, and we will not tolerate tampering with our products. We are grateful to the customers who alerted us and provided us with information."