Skip to main content

Police: Woman charged over poisoned juice at California Starbucks store

By Chelsea J. Carter, CNN
updated 9:12 PM EDT, Tue April 30, 2013
Baristas prepare drinks at the new Starbucks outlet in New Delhi, India, on February 6.
Baristas prepare drinks at the new Starbucks outlet in New Delhi, India, on February 6.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: A customer spotted the suspect switching out the bottles, Starbucks says
  • Ramineh Behbehanian, 50, has been charged with attempted murder, police say
  • She is accused of tainting two bottles of orange juice with rubbing alcohol
  • "It was a lethal dose," a police spokesman says

(CNN) -- A California woman who police say planted two bottles of tainted orange juice at a San Jose Starbucks has been charged with attempted murder, a police spokesman said Tuesday.

Ramineh Behbehanian, 50, is accused of adding rubbing alcohol to the contents of the bottles and then placing them into a refrigerated display case, Police Sgt. Jason Dwyer told reporters.

"According to our San Jose firefighters that were on scene and the fire captain there -- they really are the experts there -- it was a lethal dose," he said.

Behbehanian was arrested Monday after a customer spotted her allegedly pulling out two bottles of orange juice from a bag and putting them in the display case, he said.

The customer reported it to employees, according to police. The customer also got a license plate number, and investigators later traced the plate to Behbehanian's residence, Starbucks spokesman Zack Hutson said.

The employees immediately pulled the bottles of orange juice from the display case, and the store was evacuated until firefighters could determine the contents of the bottles, Hutson said.

The store employees pulled all the remaining juices from the cold case and destroyed them, he said. Nearby Starbucks stores were also notified of the incident and told to check the juice bottles.

Hutson said the coffee chain was "immensely grateful" to the customer who alerted employees to the tainted juice bottles.

Dwyer would not comment on the evidence in the case nor a possible motive, saying authorities were "still very much in investigative mode."

He did say the bottles were opened rather than injected by a syringe.

CNN's Janet DiGiacomo contributed to this report.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 4:06 PM EDT, Thu July 24, 2014
ITN's Dan Rivers reports from the hospital where those injured by an attack in Gaza were being treated.
updated 2:08 PM EDT, Fri July 25, 2014
Flight attendants are wearing black ribbons to show solidarity with fallen colleagues in "a tribute to those who never made it home."
updated 4:16 PM EDT, Fri July 25, 2014
Hamas: "Lift the siege." Israel: "End the rockets." The two sides' demands will be difficult to reconcile.
updated 4:04 AM EDT, Wed July 23, 2014
When the Costa Concordia and its salvage convoy finally depart Giglio, the residents will breathe a sigh of relief -- and shed a tear.
updated 4:53 PM EDT, Tue July 22, 2014
CNN's Richard Quest speaks to Malaysia Airlines' Hugh Dunleavy about how the airline industry needs to react to MH17.
updated 4:42 PM EDT, Thu July 24, 2014
From Maastricht to Melbourne, and baroque theaters to block-long warehouses, these stores make bookish travelers look stylish.
updated 2:57 PM EDT, Wed July 23, 2014
A nun, an AIDS researcher, an athlete and a family traveling on summer vacation. These were some of the victims aboard MH17.
updated 8:21 PM EDT, Mon July 21, 2014
Prince George isn't your average one year old. He started walking before he was one. Oh, and, he's going to be king -- of 16 countries.
updated 2:21 AM EDT, Fri July 18, 2014
In an ambitious plan to upgrade urban India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi says he will build 100 "smart cities" across the country.
CNN joins the fight to end modern-day slavery by shining a spotlight on its horrors and highlighting success stories.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
updated 9:17 AM EDT, Fri July 25, 2014
After just one day of competition, a new sport has emerged at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow: snapping selfies with the Queen.
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT