A Texas juvenile was facing charges for doing the same thing in June, sparking a number of copycats.
Lenise Martin III, 36, was one of them, the Assumption Parish Sheriff’s Office said.
Video footage showed a man appearing to be Martin holding the Blue Bell container while keeping the freezer door open with his body. He took the lid off of the container, licked it, looked both ways, used a finger to take a little out and eat it, and licked it again.
— Mrs. Franklin (@Ms_Pisces_Slay) July 7, 2019
He then placed the lid back on and, while laughing, stuck the container back into the freezer.
Investigators said management at the store was alerted to the footage after it started circulating online, reported WAFB. Martin later went to the store and produced a receipt he said proved he had bought the container he was tampering with.
But managers provided information to the sheriff’s office that led to the arrest.
Martin faces charges of unlawful posting of criminal activity for notoriety and publicity and tampering with property.
La. man charged for tampering with Blue Bell; deputies issue warning to copycats https://t.co/GuHBfZwOLV
— WAFB (@WAFB) July 8, 2019
— CNN (@CNN) July 8, 2019
“We discourage anyone from copying this atrocious act,” a spokesman for the Assumption Parish Sheriff’s Office said. “It is illegal. It’s a health risk to others. We will pursue anyone we see do this. You will be charged.”
The store where Martin allegedly tampered with the ice cream was named as Big B’s in Belle Rose by WBRZ. According to the broadcaster, deputies went to Martin’s house to arrest him after seeing the video on his Facebook page but he wasn’t home. They later located him at the store talking to a manager.
“We do know that he paid for a container that was identical to the one that he did lick and we could not find it on the shelf,” Commander Lonny Cavalier of the Assumption Parish Sheriff’s Office told the outlet.
But that doesn’t mean he didn’t commit a crime, Cavalier told CNN.
What kinda psychopathic behavior is this?! pic.twitter.com/T8AIdGpmuS
— Optimus Primal (@BlindDensetsu) June 29, 2019
The fact that video footage showing the act was posted online indicated Martin wanted attention for the suspected tampering, Cavalier said.
“Taking into consideration that he eventually purchased the same container is one thing, however he puts it on Facebook to gain this notoriety and at the end of the day, it gives other people ideas that are not in the best interest of public health,” Cavalier said.
Martin seemed to be inspired by the Texas girl who was captured on video licking ice cream from a container she’d obtained from a Walmart freezer before putting it back, officials said.
“We believe it’s a copy cat incident,” Cavalier said. “He did it and he did want to create some notoriety for himself by posting it on Facebook and that’s exactly what he did.”