Ice cream 'licking' video traced to Texas Walmart; suspect will face charges, police say

Ice cream-maker Blue Bell continues to investigate after a viral video last week showed a suspect opening a container of the company's ice cream inside a grocery store, licking the contents, and then returning the container to the store's freezer.

Blue Bell believes the viral video was shot in a Walmart store in Lufkin, Texas. The company added that it had all tubs of its Tin Roof-flavor ice cream removed from the store as a precaution, according to a statement.

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Meanwhile, the Lufkin Police Department is working to confirm the identity of the female suspect -- dubbed the "Lufkin Licker" in some reports -- and will get a warrant for her arrest on a charge of second-degree felony tampering with a consumer product once her identity is confirmed, the department said in a Facebook post.

The charges could be penalized with a prison sentence of 2–20 years and $10,000 in fines, per the Texas state penal code, and as noted by The New York Post.

Detectives are also working to identify a male seen entering and leaving the story in a green shirt with the woman. Police believe he was the person behind the camera in filming the viral "licking" video. "Detectives will continue to work through the holiday on this case," the department said.

On Wednesday the company said it believes it has identified the exact container that appears in the video.

“Based on security footage, the location and the inspection of the carton, we believe we may have recovered the half gallon that was tampered with,” Blue Bell said, according to Fort Worth’s KTXA-TV.

Surveillance footage from the Lufkin Walmart shows a woman who resembles the suspect in the viral video, police said. The surveillance footage was shot around 11 p.m. last Friday, they said.

After the video hit the Internet on Friday, Blue Bell began investigating Walmart locations in San Antonio, Houston and eventually Lufkin after social media comments suggested the woman was from the San Antonio area.

The company honed in on the Lufkin location after a Blue Bell division manager said “unique merchandising” found on his store’s display shelves matched the background of the video.

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“Our biggest concern is consumer safety – in that regard we are glad to see the tainted product off the shelves,” Gerald Williamson, Lufkin's director of public safety,  said on the town’s Police & Fire Facebook page.

Blue Bell reps said the company's ice cream is packaged upside down in a way that freezes the ice cream to the roof of the container on purpose so that any tampering can be easily spotted by the consumer, according to Dallas–Fort Worth's FOX 4.

The ice cream manufacturer has faced contamination issues in the past. In 2015, Blue Bell halted production after 10 people were hospitalized across four states from eating ice cream infecting with listeria, CBS News reported. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that three people in Kansas died that year from eating the bacteria-tainted ice cream and warned the public against consuming Blue Bell products.

Lufkin, a city of about 36,000 residents, is about 120 miles northeast of Houston.