A Colorado Taco Bell is being investigated after a man became violently ill on Sunday after eating a bean burrito that was reportedly laced with rat poison.
Deputies with the Arapaho County Sheriff’s Department responded to a disturbance at a Taco Bell in Aurora around 1 pm, according to Denver NBC affiliate KUSA.
Upon arriving on the scene, deputies noticed a heated exchange between a male customer and employees due to a malfunctioning soda machine. The man who ordered three bean and cheese burritos accepted a fourth one for free and went home, authorities said.
Restaurant manager Lary Swift told CBS News Colorado that the customer is a regular and has caused problems before, including throwing a taco at an employee.
Around 7:50 pm, a local hospital contacted the sheriff’s office to report that one of their patients had ingested rat poison after eating at Taco Bell and become ill.
The hospital confirmed the presence of the poison in the burrito, and investigators confirmed the victim was the same person involved in the earlier incident.
Authorities told Denver ABC affiliate KMGH that they saw a greenish-gray substance inside some of the food but haven’t determined what it was.
“Right now, what we’re looking at is if the rat poison was actually put into his food at the restaurant. We don’t know if it was at this point in time,” Deputy John Bartmann with the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office told CBS News Colorado.
The man was released from the hospital, but his name was not disclosed. Bartmann said the amount of poison in the burrito “would have been very serious to our victim’s health.”
Taco Bell corporate headquarters has been cooperating with the investigation and released this statement:
“The safety of customers and team members is a priority. The franchisee who owns and operates this location has informed us that they are working with local authorities in their investigation.”
Swift said the restaurant turned over surveillance video but didn’t understand how the rat poison got into the food.
“We don’t carry poison in the restaurant,” she added. “We didn’t do anything like that. It didn’t even add up. It’s ridiculous.”