Based on evidence, investigators concluded the item was possibly a cleaning cloth commonly used by store employees, according to the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department, which investigated the case.
“The investigation was unable to prove malicious intent on the part of the store employee,” it said Tuesday.
On June 19, an unidentified officer from the Los Angeles Police Department reported he found the item inside his drink purchased at a Starbucks inside a Target store in Diamond Bar — about 30 miles from Los Angeles.
The 36-year-old said he used a credit card that had “significant features” implying he was a police officer to purchase the drink. He went to the bathroom while the drink was being prepared and returned when it was almost completed, according to the report.
Once he started sipping the drink in the vehicle, he tasted the “furry cloth substance” inside his mouth. He stopped drinking it, opened it and recorded the “tubular … shaped object which was inside of his drink,” the report said. At the time, the officer said what he believed to be a tampon was “intentionally” placed in his drink because he was a police officer.
Target immediately issued a statement and shared surveillance camera footage with authorities. “We take this allegation seriously. We have reviewed video footage and have not found any suspicious behavior,” it said shortly after the incident.
The Starbucks was in a Target, and its workers are employees of the retail chain. Starbucks deferred all comments on the latest development to Target.
“This took place at a licensed Starbucks store inside a Target, so they would own the investigation. They should also have more background on what took place,” a Starbucks spokesman told CNN on Wednesday night.
CNN has reached out to Target.
The incident came days after three New York City police officers said they felt ill after drinking shakes from a Shake Shack restaurant in Manhattan. Local police unions demanded action, saying the officers were intentionally poisoned.
Investigators determined a cleaning solution used to clean the milkshake machines wasn’t fully cleared and may have gotten into the officers’ drinks. The New York Police Department found no wrongdoing by Shake Shack employees.