• The amount of rat poison in the burritos could have made the customer's condition "very serious"
  • Restaurant manager says the allegations "didn't even add up"
  • The outlet is cooperating with the investigating authorities

A man has been hospitalized after he bought and consumed a Taco Bell burrito meal, which was allegedly laced with rat poison. The meal was purchased at 16776 East Smoky Hill Road in Aurora, Colorado, Sunday. Investigating officials have an "open and active investigation" to determine how the poison ended up in the to-go order.

The customer had engaged in an argument with the store workers while making the purchase and deputies from the Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office responded to the scene then. Upon arrival, officials found no criminal activity and learned that a non-functional soda machine had caused the tiff. The customer left the store after they gave him an extra bean burrito, along with his original order of three bean burritos, as compensation for the soda.

The customer did not consume the food until 7 p.m. that day, according to John Bartmann, the Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office public information deputy's statement to TODAY on Wednesday. "He then ate the food, felt a burning and became ill. He called 911 and was transported to the hospital," Bartmann said, adding that the hospital informed local authorities and informed them of "a patient complaining he had eaten food with rat poison in it."

Bartmann said the case is categorized as "criminal attempt homicide." He added that the amount of poison in the food could have been "very serious" to the man's health. In a statement to CBSNews, Bartmann said, "Right now, what we're looking at is if the rat poison was actually put into his food at the restaurant. We don't know if it was at this point in time." The identity of the man has not been revealed to the public at this time.

As for the store in question, deputies turned up and closed it down later that day. Restaurant manager Lary Swift said that the police came back saying "we poisoned somebody. We don't carry poison in the restaurant," she said. "We didn't do anything like that. It didn't even add up. It's ridiculous," per CBSNews. The restaurant is cooperating with the investigators.

The outlet received an email statement from Taco Bell's corporate communications and it said thus: "The safety of customers and team members is a priority. The franchisee who owns and operates this location has informed us that they are working with local authorities in their investigation."

Getting sick from restaurant food resulted in a health scare and millions in the bank for a Florida couple in 2018. Maria Elena Martinez and her husband Angel suffered from vomiting and diarrhea after eating at Lobster Haven in Tampa in December 2013. While Maria recovered immediately, Angel developed Guillain-Barre Syndrome, which affects one in every 100,000 people and causes the immune system to attack its own body. Angel was paralyzed from the waist down and had to learn to walk again. While the restaurant tried to settle for $20,000, the couple continued to fight it out in court and were awarded $6.7 million following a jury decision.

Rat Poison Public Domain