The Shocking Thing One Arby's Manager Just Admitted To Doing

Between 2013 and 2016, the average American ate fast food at least once per week, according to the CDC, and as of 2018, one-third of American adults made it a daily habit. Not only is that a lot of fast food, but it also presents a lot of opportunities for things to go awry. Luckily, most of the time, we're talking about minor stuff, like the server forgetting your extra ketchup or soda spilling on your fries while driving home. But occasionally, things get weird, such as that time when human flesh turned up in someone's Arby's order. Yikes.

When we learned that a night manager at a Vancouver, Washington Arby's restaurant was under investigation by that city's Digital Evidence Cybercrime Unit for suspected possession and distribution of child pornography (per The Columbian), it was discomfiting. And when you consider that Arby's has 3,500 restaurants in nine different countries and nearly 25,000 employees in the U.S. alone, it's plausible that some unlawfulness is bound to occur (per Fortune). Yet, these alleged crimes are shocking.

The manager in question, 29-year-old Stephen Sharp, made law enforcement's job easier by confessing to "downloading and distributing child pornography and having a sexual interest in children" during a May 10 police interview, according to a police report cited by Law & Crime. Sharp was arrested and charged with multiple counts of downloading and distributing child pornography. But that's when things actually got even more disturbing — if that's even possible.

An Arby's manager admitted to urinating in the milkshake mix

After Stephen Sharp was arrested and interviewed by law enforcement in connection with child pornography charges, a search warrant executed on his phone turned up a 16-second video in which an individual is seen urinating into a container of milkshake mix. The video's metadata revealed it was recorded on October 30, 2021, at the Arby's where Sharp was employed, and Sharp confirmed it was, in fact, him, in the video (per The Columbian). Sharp admitted to urinating into the milkshake mix on this and at least one other occasion, in each case, his motivation being "sexual gratification." 

While Sharp told detectives he was "almost sure" he'd thrown out the defiled mix before it was served to customers, he also noted that if he had not, then milkshakes contaminated with Sharp's urine would have been served to customers all throughout that particular shift and the next. Accordingly, investigators are now looking for anyone who purchased a milkshake at the Vancouver, Washington Arby's located at 221 N.E. 104th Ave. around October 30 or 31. Anyone who did, and there may be as many as 30 to 40 possible victims according to an estimate by another Arby's manager, should contact Detective Robert Givens at his email address.

In the meantime, Sharp was arrested on May 14 in connection with this latest allegation, which, for the moment, amounts to one count of second-degree assault with sexual motivation (via Law & Crime).

Sharp remains in custody for defiling the milkshake mix

Stephen Sharp, the 29-year-old man accused of urinating in a container of milkshake mix at the Vancouver, Washington Arby's for which he was the night manager, remains in police custody in Clark County, Washington. His bail was set at $40,000, however, for the prior counts of child pornography, Sharp's bail had been set at $5,000 (per The Columbian). Our summary perusal of Washington's bail-setting rubric revealed that bail is automatically set at $5,000 in all felony cases, of which child pornography would qualify. What remains unclear is why Sharp's multiple child pornography counts were not treated as cumulative, which would have made Sharp's initial bail $40,000. It's also unclear why the additional charge did not increase his bail to $45,000 (since it constituted a ninth felony count), or why Clark County's Judge David Gregerson waited until Sharp's second arrest for second-degree assault using his own urine before raising Sharp's bail.

According to Clark County Public Health Director, Dr. Alan Melnick, for those who may have consumed urine-contaminated milkshakes from Arby's, the health risk is not significant (via The Columbian). Medical News Today concurs with Dr. Melnick, noting that consuming urine is not usually dangerous for humans. That being said, there are cases where consuming someone else's urine can introduce harmful pathogens and bacteria into the body, and for young children and those with chronic illness, this may be problematic (via Daily Mail).

Arby's statement on these shocking allegations

In light of these developments, it's understandable if customers of the Arby's roast beef sandwich empire — and not just those in Vancouver, Washington either — might have some legitimate concerns about putting their trust in the fast food chain again. However, law enforcement has stated that Arby's had no knowledge of Mr. Sharp's allegedly illegal activities, or, for that matter, of Sharp's proclivities that motivated those activities. "The Digital Evidence Cybercrime Unit has not located evidence that Arby's or its franchisee was aware of the abhorrent actions of Stephen Sharp," Vancouver police Sgt. Julie Ballou told The Columbian via email. As the law enforcement works the case, however, it's likely that Arby's knowledge, or duty to know, of Sharp's issues may be revisited, even if only in the court of public opinion. 

To its credit, however, Arby's has apparently come down hard on Sharp as well as on the franchisee that employed him at the Vancouver restaurant. In another email to The Columbian, a spokesperson said, on behalf of Arby's, that the company characterized Sharp's actions as "abhorrent and unacceptable." The spokesperson further noted that Sharp's employment had been terminated and that Arby's has "taken immediate action" with the franchisee and is otherwise "fully cooperating with the authorities in their investigation."