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 8:53 AM EDT, Wed September 10, 2014
ISIS has captured the minds of a new generation of global jihadists. What does it mean for al Qaeda?
updated 3:03 PM EDT, Tue September 16, 2014
For years, Morten Storm moved between two worlds. A radical Islamist turned double agent is lifting the lid on some of the world's best-kept secrets.
updated 8:38 PM EDT, Tue September 16, 2014
A man abducted alongside killed U.S. journalist Steven Sotloff tells CNN how they were kidnapped and says no one from the U.S. government has tried to talk with him since his release.
updated 9:11 AM EDT, Wed September 17, 2014
Have you been to these? The global museum list, released Tuesday, ranks 25 of the world's best museums.
updated 9:00 AM EDT, Wed September 17, 2014
iOS 8, the latest version of Apple's mobile operating system, comes with new features that you'll enjoy.
updated 10:07 AM EDT, Wed September 17, 2014
What will happen to Scotland's business (not to mention its currency) if they vote to leave?
updated 8:53 AM EDT, Tue September 16, 2014
The Ebola virus, very deadly and currently without a cure, is fast-spreading throughout the small West African country.
updated 9:24 AM EDT, Tue September 16, 2014
Go to any provincial city in China and you'd be forgiven for thinking the national youth pastimes are online gaming and flirting.
updated 4:51 AM EDT, Mon September 15, 2014
North Korea calls its human rights a "superior system."
updated 5:29 AM EDT, Tue September 16, 2014
In Wenzhou, called the "Jerusalem of China," authorities have demolished churches.
Are you Muslim? What do you want the world to know about your religion?
updated 6:04 AM EDT, Wed September 17, 2014
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT