A woman could be facing up to 20 years in prison after she sparked public outrage following a viral video in which she licks a tub of ice cream and then returns it to the supermarket freezer.
The footage features the unnamed woman opening the ice cream container and licking it, then laughing as she returns it to the freezer section in a Walmart store in Lufkin, eastern Texas.
A man, presumably the person that is filming the prank, can be heard not only laughing, but actively encouraging the woman to “lick it, lick it”.
While the joke might be over, police confirmed the 4th of July, that the woman could be facing a second-degree felony charge of tampering with a consumer product, as reported by NBC News.
The charge carries a prison term, anywhere from 2 to 20 years, as well as fines up to $10,000, according to the Texas state penal code. Investigators are also in discussions with the FDA, so additional federal charges could be brought against the woman.
While the woman’s identity is still a public mystery, police said on Wednesday July 3rd, that they may have identified her after “detectives had obtained surveillance video placing a woman matching the suspect description in the Lufkin store on June 28 around 11 p.m.”
Police are waiting on verification before issuing an arrest warrant. The identity of the man is also still under investigation.
The spokesperson said, as per NBC News, “Our detectives are working to verify the identity of the female suspect before a warrant is issued for her arrest on a charge of second-degree felony tampering with a consumer product. As that portion of the investigation continues, detectives are focusing on identifying the male (in the green shirt) behind the camera seen in images of the two entering the store together.”
Blue Bell Creameries, the manufacturer of the ice cream brand the woman licked, commented on the incident, referring to it as a “malicious act of food tampering”.
The company has added that all the tubs that are the same flavor as the one that the woman licked in the video have been recalled from the store’s shelves as a precaution. They confirmed that the compromised tub was found among those removed.
In an earlier statement, the company also assured consumers that they would easily notice any tampering when opening a fresh tub, as the company’s product cartons are frozen upside down in production, which create a natural seal to the lid.