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Woman Accused Of Attempting To Poison SJ Starbucks Customers With Juice

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A woman was charged with leaving poisoned juice in a San Jose Starbucks.  (CBS)

A woman was charged with leaving poisoned juice in a San Jose Starbucks. (CBS)

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SAN JOSE (CBS SF) — A woman has been arrested on suspicion of attempted murder and felony poisoning after police said she attempted to put bottles of orange juice mixed with a lethal dosage of rubbing alcohol into a refrigerator case at a San Jose Starbucks coffee shop on Monday afternoon, a police spokesman said.

Ramineh Behbehanian, 50, was arrested after San Jose police received a 3:45 p.m. call from a manager at the Starbucks coffee shop at 6009 Snell Ave. who reported suspicious activity inside the store, police Sgt. Jason Dwyer said.

Dwyer said Behbehanian entered the coffee shop with a green Starbucks bag, and that another customer saw her take two bottles of orange juice out of the bag.

She placed the bottles on a shelf alongside other refrigerated items and then walked up as if she were going to buy a cup of coffee, Dwyer said.

The customer reported the activity to an employee and the suspect fled, according to Dwyer.

“That person has saved lives by doing that,” he said of the customer.

Ramineh Behbehanian

Ramineh Behbehanian (San Jose Police Dept.)

San Jose fire crews responded and brought a hazardous materials team that analyzed the liquid and determined that a lethal amount of isopropyl alcohol, or rubbing alcohol, had been mixed with the orange juice in the bottles, which had broken seals.

One of the employees recorded the suspect’s license plate number as she left, and police arrested her around 8:30 p.m. at her home in the 5800 block of Chambertin Drive, close to the coffee shop, Dwyer said.

Behbehanian remained in custody this morning while police continued to investigate the case, which Dwyer said appears to have been an isolated incident.

Starbucks spokesman Zack Hutson said all juice in the cold case at the store has been destroyed, and all Starbucks stores in the San Jose area have been asked to inspect the seals on their refrigerated items.

Hutson said there have been no other reports of products being tampered with.

After the incident was reported, Hutson said the Starbucks where it happened was evacuated and closed while other items were examined.

This morning, the store was back in operation.

No employees or customers were injured because no one consumed any of the liquid in question, Hutson said.

He said there is no indication that other Bay Area Starbucks stores have been targeted.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco and Bay City News Service. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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