The Taco Bell Rat Poisoning Saga Just Took An Interesting Turn

A recent incident at one Colorado Taco Bell that resulted in a man being hospitalized after consuming a burrito from the locale has now gotten even more complicated. 

According to Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office, the problem started on January 15 at around 1 p.m. when a customer used the drive-thru to order "several soft tacos" and a soda. When he approached the collection window, he was told that they could not provide him with his soda due to the machine being out of order. He asked for a burrito as a replacement and things escalated when he was told the staff was unable to comply with his request. After further argument and the incident being reported to the police, he was provided with the food item.

That same day, authorities were called again to a local hospital where staff had been informed that a man admitted to the hospital had become ill after eating food from Taco Bell. The patient — determined to be the same man from the earlier incident — told the attending officers that he had taken a bite of one of the tacos at around 7 p.m. and "immediately felt a burning in his mouth and began to vomit." He took the food with him to the hospital and the officers identified a "greenish-gray substance in the taco," which the Arapahoe Sherriff's Office says was later lab-tested and identified as rat poison (which is indeed commonly green in color, according to This Old House).

The case is still under investigation

After the alleged rat poisoning incident at the Taco Bell in Centennial Arapahoe County, the store was closed down and investigators were called to the scene. According to the Sheriff's Office, an examination of video footage provided by the store has shown no proof that employees had placed rat poison in any of the items given to the customer.

While the customer was cooperative during his hospital visit and told authorities that they were able to access his home to retrieve the rest of the Taco Bell items for testing, he has since been uncommunicative and hasn't answered attempts made by investigators to contact him. Lary Swift, the manager at that location, told CBS Colorado that the hospitalized customer is "a regular patron who has caused problems before" and once "threw a taco at an employee." Swift also said that the Taco Bell in question doesn't carry rat poison. 

Authorities indicated that if the customer had eaten all the food, the amount of poison discovered during the lab test "would have been very serious to our victim's health" (via CBS). They are asking for the customer to come forward with any information so they can help identify how the rat poison got into his food. While there is "no evidence" that Taco Bell was responsible for the poison, investigators still need to find how it got there and the "case will remain an open and active investigation."