New Jersey Police Believe Starbucks Worker Repeatedly Spat in Their Drinks

Police think a former Starbucks worker in New Jersey they arrested for allegedly spitting in drinks served to officers did so on multiple occasions during the coronavirus pandemic.

Kevin Trejo, 21, of Westwood is facing a number of charges in relation to tampering with a drink knowing it was ordered by a law enforcement officer.

The Park Ridge Police Department launched an investigation after receiving information that a local coffee shop worker was spitting in drinks served to officers who frequented the store.

"We got a tip that he had done this," Park Ridge Police Capt. Joseph Rampolla told NBC News. Rampolla said there was enough behind the accusations for their department "to get concerned" amid the pandemic.

"We believe it happened more than once but we can prove it happened at least once on May 25," Rampolla said.

There have been heightened tensions between police and their communities across the country after the death of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man, while in Minneapolis police custody on May 25.

Rampolla told NorthJersey.com that the department is working to get any officer who may have been served a tampered drink tested for COVID-19, although police are not sure how many that could be.

Trejo was charged with subjecting a law enforcement officer to contact with bodily fluid, knowingly tampering with a law enforcement officer's drink, and creating a hazardous or physically dangerous condition.

In a statement, Park Ridge Police Chief Joseph Madden thanked the management for their cooperation, adding it appears no other person who worked at the Starbucks had also allegedly spat in officers' drinks.

Starbucks later condemned Trejo's actions and confirmed he is longer an employee.

"This individual's behavior was reprehensible and not at all a reflection of how our partners (employees) treat our customers on a daily basis," Starbucks spokesperson Sara Autio told New Jersey News 12.

"As soon as we learned of what took place, we moved quickly to investigate, and can now confirm this individual is no longer a Starbucks employee.

"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."

Patrick Colligan, president of the New Jersey State Policemen's Benevolent Association, also criticized the "outrageous" allegations surrounding Trejo.

"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," Colligan said.

Trejo is due to appear in court on August 3 to face the charges.

Kevin Trejo
Kevin Trejo is accused of subjecting a law enforcement officer to contact with bodily fluid among other charges. Getty