LUFKIN, Texas – Police in Texas say they have identified the store in which a woman was seen on video licking a 64-ounce container of Blue Bell ice cream before putting it back into the freezer.
In a Facebook post, the Lufkin Police Department says the video, which first hit social media on June 28, launched an investigation that led from Walmart stores in San Antonio to Houston and eventually to Lufkin, Texas.
Earlier this week, police say social media users identified the woman in the video as being from San Antonio, which led law enforcement there to believe it happened in one of their stores. However, Lufkin Police said a store display case matching the one in the video could not be found.
The search then went to Walmart stores in Houston after investigators learned that the woman may be living with a boyfriend in that area. Again, they could not find a store display case matching the one in the video.
Earlier Wednesday morning, the department said Blue Bell corporate instructed all of its division managers to see if they could identify the store location. Within an hour, a division manager in Lufkin called and said he believed the incident happened in the Lufkin Walmart. Authorities said be based this “on the store’s unique merchandising, which matched the video.”
At 1:10 p.m. Wednesday, Blue Bell contacted the Lufkin Police Department, saying they believed it happened in the Lufkin Walmart and that they had retrieved what they believed to be the tainted container of ice cream. The company also removed all half-gallon cartons of the flavor, “Tin Roof,” off the store’s shelves as a precaution.
By 4 p.m., detectives had obtained a surveillance video placing a woman matching the suspect description in the Lufkin store on June 28 around 11 p.m. Detectives believe they have identified the woman, and the investigation remains ongoing.
Lufkin Director of Public Safety Gerald Williamson said the appropriate charges will be filed.
“Our biggest concern is consumer safety – in that regard we are glad to see the tainted product off the shelves,” Williamson told Lufkin Police. “We are recommending that as a precaution Blue Bell remove products from the Lufkin Walmart shelves until our investigation is complete.”