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 9:02 PM EDT, Mon October 20, 2014
A 15-year-old pregnant girl is rescued from slavery, only to be charged with having sex outside of marriage, shocked rights activists say -- a charge potentially punishable by death.
updated 11:33 PM EDT, Tue October 21, 2014
After sushi and ramen, beef is on the list of must-eats for many visitors to Japan.
updated 12:07 PM EDT, Mon October 20, 2014
Airports judged on comfort, conveniences, cleanliness and customer service.
updated 9:12 AM EDT, Wed October 22, 2014
Scientists use CT scans to recreate a life-size image of the ancient king.
updated 5:59 AM EDT, Wed October 22, 2014
Despite billions spent on eradicating poppy production, Afghan farmers are growing bumper crops, a U.S. government report says.
updated 9:19 AM EDT, Mon October 20, 2014
With so many new attractions on the way, the next few years are going to be a roller coaster ride.
updated 12:29 AM EDT, Thu October 16, 2014
Thomas Malthus famously predicted that rising populations would create a food crunch: Could this be true?
updated 5:45 AM EDT, Tue October 21, 2014
The lives of everyone close to Oscar Pistorius and the girl he killed are changed forever, his siblings say.
updated 10:02 AM EDT, Wed October 22, 2014
Gene Simmons reflects on 40 years of KISS, and how even rock royalty needs sound business principles.
updated 6:33 AM EDT, Sat October 18, 2014
From "Sick Man of Europe" to the world's fourth largest economy.
updated 5:15 AM EDT, Wed October 22, 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