A 21-year-old man has been arrested for allegedly spitting into the drinks of law enforcement officers at the New Jersey Starbucks where he worked, officials say.
Kevin Trejo, of Westood, was charged Monday with subjecting a law enforcement officer to contact with bodily fluid, knowingly tampering with a cup of coffee that was ordered by an officer and creating a hazardous or dangerous condition.
It wasn't immediately clear how long he allegedly contaminated the drinks of officers at the Starbucks in Park Ridge, how many had been effected or why Trejo targeted officers; the company says he has been fired. An investigation by police and Starbucks officials revealed evidence of the vile act.
In a statement to News 4 Tuesday, Starbucks called the alleged behavior "reprehensible" and said it had apologized to the Park Ridge Police Department.
"This individual’s behavior was reprehensible and not at all a reflection of how our partners (employees) treat our customers on a daily basis," a Starbucks spokesperson said. "We want everyone who comes into our stores to receive a positive experience and when that doesn’t occur, we move quickly to address it and hold ourselves accountable. We will continue to support Park Ridge Police in their investigation and have a deep respect for the Park Ridge Police Department and the officers who help keep our partners and communities safe."
Local police thanked the store's management for their cooperation. They said it appears to be an isolated incident linked only to this particular individual, though there was no indication of a possible motive. Multiple officers will be getting tested for COVID-19 as a precaution.
"Our concern is our officers' safety. It's still hard to identify specifically which officers may have been exposed. So we're gonna have to work out getting them tested," said Park Ridge Police Capt. Joseph Rampolla.
The president of New Jersey's police union blasted the allegations in a statement, saying, "Every time I think we as society hit bottom, there is a new incident. Officers risk their lives daily, it shouldn't be while getting coffee."
He was released from police custody on Monday. It wasn't immediately clear if Trejo had an attorney who could comment on his behalf.