A video posted on Twitter of a Walmart customer opening a tub of ice cream, licking the ice cream and then closing it and placing it back on the shelf apparently has inspired at least three copycat crimes by people seeking their own 15 minutes of fame.
Police, however, say the Lufkin, Texas, teen could face charges of tampering with a consumer product, punishable by a prison term of up to 20 years and a $10,000 fine.
Two other ice-cream-licking incidents have turned up on social media, and in a video posted on Instagram, an apparently transgendered person, Bameron Nicole Smith, is seen pulling a bottle of mouthwash from a Walmart shelf, taking a swig and spitting it back into the bottle.
“Girl, it has been one musty f****** morning,” she says to the camera, the Daily Mirror of London reported
Walmart said it’s investigating the mouthwash incident.
“If someone tampers with a product and leaves it on the shelf, we will work with law enforcement to identify and prosecute those found responsible to the fullest extent of the law,” the company told DailyMail.com.
‘We take this issue very seriously’
NBC News reported the girl who admitted to opening a Blue Bell ice-cream carton in Lufkin, licking it and returning it to the freezer is under 17, which makes her a juvenile under Texas law.
The girl, who is not being identified by police, is seen in the video, posted to Twitter June 28, laughing as she places the carton back in the freezer.
The video has acquired more than 13 million views.
The manufacturer of the ice cream, Blue Bell Creameries, thanked consumers for alerting them to the 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,” the statement said.
Summit News reported a Twitter user who goes by the name Shawn Mendes had his friend film him scooping out a chunk of Blue Bell ice cream with his hand before putting it back in the freezer.
He posted the video July 2 on Twitter, after the Lufkin teen’s video went viral.
But he boasted, “I started the trend of opening products without buying them.”
And Louisiana police say a 36-year-old man inspired by the Lufkin teen was arrested Saturday in Belle Rose after licking a carton of Blue Bell ice cream, sticking his finger in it and returning it to the shelf, CNN reported.
Assumption Parish Sheriff’s deputies said the suspect, Lenise Martin III, posted his crime on Facebook and admitted he was seeking attention.
Commander Lonny Cavalier told CNN that authorities believe it’s “a copycat incident.”
“He did it and he did want to create some notoriety for himself by posting it on Facebook and that’s exactly what he did,” Cavalier said.
What kinda psychopathic behavior is this?! pic.twitter.com/T8AIdGpmuS
— Optimus Primal (@BlindDensetsu) June 29, 2019