Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office has found no evidence Taco Bell employees put rat poison in customer's food

Investigators trying to reach customer in ongoing investigation

Tayler Shaw
tshaw@coloradocommunitymedia.com
Posted 1/20/23

After an initial investigation into whether Taco Bell employees put rat poison in food given to a customer, the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office said it has found no evidence that employees did …

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Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office has found no evidence Taco Bell employees put rat poison in customer's food

Investigators trying to reach customer in ongoing investigation

Posted

After an initial investigation into whether Taco Bell employees put rat poison in food given to a customer, the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office said it has found no evidence that employees did so. 

In a Jan. 20 news release, the sheriff’s office said on Jan. 15 at approximately 1 p.m., deputies responded to a “report of a disturbance” at the Taco Bell located at 16700 E. Smoky Hill Road.

Deputies found a verbal altercation had occurred between Taco Bell employees and a customer in the drive-through after the customer, who had ordered several soft tacos and a soda, was told the soda dispenser was not working, according to the release. 

The customer, a male, reportedly became angry and requested a burrito to replace the soda. The employees initially told him they could not do that exchange, but he “continued to argue with staff until he was given a burrito in place of the drink,” the sheriff’s office said in the release.

Deputies found no criminal activity had occurred, per the release.

Later that day at approximately 7:50 p.m., deputies were dispatched to an area hospital after receiving a report that a male patient was admitted to the hospital and told staff he ate food that had rat poison in it, according to the release. 

Deputies spoke with the patient and found it was the same customer from the Taco Bell incident earlier that day. 

The customer reportedly told deputies he ate his tacos around 7 p.m. and he “immediately felt a burning in his mouth and began to vomit,” according to the release. He then called 911 and was taken to the hospital.

According to the release, while at the hospital, deputies saw the taco he took a bite out of and “saw a greenish-gray substance in the taco,” the sheriff’s office said in the release. Lab tests confirmed rat poison was in the taco.

The customer gave deputies consent to enter his home and retrieve the remaining food as evidence, and Taco Bell was immediately closed as investigators went to the restaurant to process the scene, per the release. 

The sheriff’s office said Taco Bell “was very helpful during the investigation and turned over all videos from inside the building.” 

Investigators went through video footage of the Taco Bell and found no evidence that the employees were responsible for placing the rat poison in the food given to the customer, according to the release.

Investigators have also been struggling to reach the customer. The sheriff’s office said investigators have been trying to contact the customer via phone but have not been able to speak with him, and when they went to his home on Jan. 19, there was no answer. 

“Although there is no evidence that the employees at Taco Bell put the rat poison in the food, investigators can not account for how it got in the food,” the sheriff’s office said in the release. “If the customer has any information that can help with the investigation into how the poison could have gotten into the food, we request he contacts the Sheriff's Office.” 

The case remains an open and active investigation. 

Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office, Rat poison, Taco Bell rat poison

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