By Frieda Powers
The young Texas woman seen in a viral video licking a tub of ice cream in a grocery aisle was found by police but will reportedly not be facing charges as an adult.
Despite earlier reports that she could face up to 20 years in prison for the “malicious act of food tampering,” East Texas police said the San Antonio juvenile who was identified as the “licker” in the video would not be charged as she is a minor.
The Lufkin Police Department announced “Case Closed” in a Facebook post on Friday after the video with nearly 13 million views and a Walmart surveillance image sparked an investigation that led officials to the suspect who, along with her boyfriend who filmed the incident, reportedly confessed.
“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 Lufkin Police Department said in its statement.
“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,” the statement said. “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.”
Blue Bell Creameries investigated after the video was posted, showing the young woman opening a gallon of Blue Bell ice cream in the store, licking it and then returning it to the freezer. The ice cream company said in a statement that it determined a Walmart store in Lufkin was where “the malicious act of food tampering took place.”
Authorities had intended to arrest the girl on a charge of second-degree felony tampering with a consumer product, a crime which carries a punishment of 2-20 years. She could have faced additional federal charges as well, as investigators were reportedly discussing the case with the FDA.
A Walmart in Corpus Christi placed an “armed” employee with a water gun outside their freezer section in case there were any copycats.
The police statement on Friday revealed the challenges detectives faced in identifying the correct person from the video.
“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).’”
Lufkin police explained that 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.”
“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,” Blue Bell Creameries said in a statement. “This case is now in the hands of the Texas Juvenile Justice Department to pursue however it deems appropriate.”
Satisfaction that the “licker” was found soon turned to anger as Twitter users reacted to news that her age was a factor in the decision by police.
This article originally appared at https://www.bizpacreview.com/2019/07/06/walmart-ice-cream-licker-confesses-fact-that-shes-a-minor-ties-hands-of-cops-772053?utm_source=IdealMedia&utm_medium=IdealMedia