A Texas teen was caught by authorities on Friday after the girl posted a video of herself giggling while licking the top of Blue Bell ice cream she opened and placing it back into a Walmart freezer.
“Lick it! Lick it!” the girl’s boyfriend is heard encouraging her in the viral video, which has been viewed well over 11 million times.
Before the suspect’s identity was known, 20 years of prison time and up to $10,000 in fines were on the table for committing the second-degree felony of tampering with a consumer product per the Texas state penal code, reported NBC News. But since the girl is under 17 years old, Lufkin Police Department said the teen “faces charges related to the incident, they will be ‘at the discretion of the juvenile justice system,’” NBC noted.
The suspect’s boyfriend, however, is an adult; charges against him are still pending.
“What made this case difficult is that a ‘catfish’ with a similar screen name (within one letter of the suspect’s screen name) began taking credit for it,” a statement from police said, according to the outlet.
The fake ‘catfish’ account taking credit for the stunt wrote in a post, “Yeah, I really did that. You can call it Flu Bell ice cream now ‘cause I was a lil sick last week. Repost yourself doing this. Let’s see if we can start an epidemic (literally).”
Blue Bell Creameries was forced to recall all half-gallons of their “Tin Roof” ice cream from the Lufkin Walmart stores over the “malicious act of food tampering.”
“Lufkin Police Department is investigating the viral video of a woman licking Blue Bell ice cream and putting it back in the display case,” a Facebook post, published on Wednesday, from the department said. “The video hit social media June 28, launching an investigation that led from Walmart stores in San Antonio to Houston and eventually Lufkin. …At 1:10 p.m. today, Blue Bell contacted us, saying that they believed the viral video took place in the Lufkin Walmart store and that they had retrieved what they believed to be the tainted container of ice cream.”
“By 4 p.m., detectives had obtained surveillance video placing a woman matching the suspect description in the Lufkin store on June 28 around 11 p.m. Detectives believe they have the woman identified and the investigation is ongoing,” the post continued. “Appropriate charges will be filed, according to Lufkin Director of Public Safety Gerald Williamson.”
“Our biggest concern is consumer safety – in that regard we are glad to see the tainted product off the shelves,” said Williamson.
In a copycat incident, a 36-year-old from Louisiana, Lenise Lloyd Martin III, was charged for licking Blue Bell ice cream and placing back on a store shelf, though police confirmed he paid for the half-gallon after taping the video.
“Martin presented to deputies and the manager the receipt for the ice cream which matched the one he contaminated. Authorities then searched the freezer and could not locate the container. Deputies said there was a continuation of the clip and you see Martin take the ice cream off the shelf a second time,” reported KTBS3 ABC.
“We do know that he paid for a container that was identical to the one that he did lick and we could not find it on the shelf,” confirmed Commander Lonny Cavalier of the Assumption Parish Sheriff’s Office.
The man was arrested “for the unlawful posting of criminal activity for notoriety and publicity, 1 count of criminal mischief for tampering with property,” KTBS3 ABC said.