A man who argued with Taco Bell employees later ended up in a hospital, and sheriff’s investigators in the Denver suburb are looking into whether his takeout meal was laced with rat poison.
The incident began Sunday at the restaurant in Aurora, according to the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office. Deputies responded at about 1 p.m. to a report of a disturbance.
The customer had become upset because the soda machine wasn’t working and had argued with employees, said Deputy John Bartmann, a sheriff’s spokesman. Deputies determined no crime had been committed.
At 7:50 p.m. the sheriff’s office was contacted by a hospital about a man being treated for illness, possibly connected to rat poison in his food. The patient was the customer from the Taco Bell incident.
The man told investigators he took his food order home, did some house chores and watched television, and then ate the bean burritos around 7 p.m., Bartmann said.
The man told investigators he immediately felt sick and began vomiting, Bartmann said. He called 911 and was taken to a hospital.
Sheriff’s deputies went to the hospital, the man’s apartment and back to the Taco Bell, where staff was cooperative, Bartmann said. Investigators are looking at evidence including video of the production line at the restaurant. Remnants of food at the apartment are being tested.
The restaurant’s manager told the TV station CBS News Colorado that the man is a frequent customer who has caused problems there, one time throwing a taco at an employee.
She also said the restaurant does not keep rat poison on the premises.
On Wednesday, Bartmann said that it was too early in the investigation to definitively say whether the food was poisoned. There was, however, a greenish-gray substance in the food that appears to be a foreign substance, police said. An investigation is ongoing.
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