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Walmart ice cream licker shown in video found, Texas cops say. She may not be charged

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Your kitchen is filled with food safety tools that, when used properly, can keep you and your loved ones healthy. Get tips on how to help prevent food poisoning by proper use of refrigerators, microwaves, cutting boards and more.

Texas police say they found the girl shown in a viral video licking Blue Bell ice cream at Walmart, media outlets report.

Just days after video surfaced showing a female licking a container of ice cream and then returning it to the shelf, Blue Bell said it tracked down the store where the incident happened — and found and removed the “tainted” half-gallon carton in the video, according to police.

Police announced Wednesday that the Walmart is in Lufkin, Texas. By Friday, the police department said it had found the suspect, identifying her as a teenage girl from San Antonio, according to the Associated Press.

Police don’t plan on filing charges against the girl, but it’s unclear whether she will face punishment in the juvenile justice system, the AP reported.

Before she was identified as a juvenile, police had said the ice cream licker could face up to 20 years in prison for a felony charge of tampering with a consumer product, NBC News reported.

Police said the video — which quickly went viral this week — appeared online on June 28.

A video of the incident posted on Twitter on June 29 had been viewed more than 12.4 million times by Friday. That video includes language that may be considered inappropriate:

The clip launched an investigation that targeted Walmart locations first in Houston and San Antonio, and then in Lufkin, according to police.

Commenters online suggested the girl who licked the “Tin Roof” flavored ice cream was from San Antonio, which prompted law enforcement there to check stores for similar display cases with no luck, police said.

Houston Walmart stores were checked because the girl suspected of being in the video may have been living with her boyfriend in the area, but the display cases there didn’t match either, according to police.

On Wednesday, Blue Bell told every division manager to help find the store — and “within an hour of the corporate plea, a Lufkin division manager called, saying he believed it was Lufkin Walmart … based this on the store’s unique merchandising which matched the video,” Lufkin police said.

Blue Bell reached out to Lufkin police just after 1 p.m. Wednesday “saying that they believed the viral video took place in the Lufkin Walmart store and that they had retrieved what they believed to be the tainted container of ice cream,” police said.

Detectives got security footage of a girl matching the description by 4 p.m. Wednesday. That surveillance video was recorded around 11 p.m. on June 28, police said.

“Our biggest concern is consumer safety — in that regard we are glad to see the tainted product off the shelves,” Williamson said in a statement. “We are recommending that as a precaution Blue Bell remove products from the Lufkin Walmart shelves until our investigation is complete.”

Blue Bell said Wednesday that Lufkin police were taking over the investigation, KPRC reported.

“Our staff recognized the location in the video, and we inspected the freezer case. We found a Tin Roof half gallon that appears to have been compromised,” the ice cream company’s statement said, according to the TV station. “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. Out of an abundance of caution, we have also removed all Tin Roof half gallons from that location.”

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Jared Gilmour is a McClatchy national reporter based in San Francisco. He covers everything from health and science to politics and crime. He studied journalism at Northwestern University and grew up in North Dakota.
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