A recent development has flooded the internet where disturbing photos and videos of kids have gone viral. The footages show kids licking and mishandling consumer products and putting them back for someone else to buy.
These ‘incidents’ have been rampant throughout the US and have involved various consumer products
A video uploaded to Twitter, the social media platform, on July 3rd shows a person casually walking up to the mouthwash section of a supermarket, opening up a bottle, gargling and then spitting the used mouthwash back into the bottle before replacing it on the shelf.
A man in the state of Louisiana was caught on film on 7th July as he licked ice cream cups and put them back in the freezer for an uninformed customer. The man was subsequently caught and said that his inspiration was by a girl from Lufkin, Texas who filmed while licking a tub of ice cream at Walmart.
The sheriff’s office and other concerned departments in Louisiana have discouraged such acts. “It is illegal. It’s a health risk to others. We will pursue anyone we see do this. You will be charged,” officials said.
As a gesture of goodwill, the ice cream company Blue Bell, whose ice cream was licked by the perpetrators tracked down the store where the products were placed and removed them.
The incident involving the girl from Lufkinis perhaps the key matter as it was subjected to various inquiries and investigations by different departments and the statements were made public afterward.
The Police Department of Lufkin was available for a social media presser; they published, “The suspect is tied to the Lufkin area through her boyfriend’s family. We have spoken with her boyfriend, who is an adult, as well. They were both forthcoming with what occurred and admitted to the act.”
The girl is underage and hence the authorities did not intend to press charges that would normally be pursued as the matter was subject to juvenile justice.
A statement from the department added: “We do not intend to pursue charges against her as an ‘adult’ and therefore what happens from here is at the discretion of the juvenile justice system, we cannot speak for them as to what charge she will face in the juvenile justice system. As to whether her boyfriend will face charges, we are currently discussing his involvement with prosecutors.”
There were other complexities involved with identifying and locating the girl as several imposters claimed they were the ones who licked the ice cream tub.
A representative of the Police Department said, “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,” the police said. “It was actually the catfish and NOT our suspect who bragged on Instagram about the incident saying: ‘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).'”
“There were roughly 4-6 women with similar screen names and appearances that law enforcement had to eliminate – including the catfish – before getting to the actual suspect.”, the spokesman added.
Blue Bell Creameries also sent out a media statement after the matter was handed over to the concerned authorities. The statement read: “We thank everyone for their assistance in this case including the San Antonio Police Department, Lufkin Police Department, Walmart, and our customers who alerted us to this incident…This case is now in the hands of the Texas Juvenile Justice Department to pursue however it deems appropriate.”
It is notable that depending upon the severity of the outcome tampering a product can fall under a felony of degree one. If the consumer suffers fatal harm due to the perpetrator’s actions the perpetrator could face up to 11 years in prison and a fine of $20000 or more.
If the consumer did not get harmed then the tampering is a felony of a second degree and the accused could face 2 to 8 years in prison and/or a fine of $15000 to $20000. The police department and the concerned offices have tried to spread the news that criminal charges can be involved to try and stop future incidents from happening.