Police contacted after customer buys vodka bottle filled with water: LCBO
Police have been contacted after a customer who purchased vodka at a Toronto-area LCBO found the 1.75-litre bottle had been filled with water.
The Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO) said Friday that the company is investigating an incident of product-tampering after a customer returned the water-filled plastic bottle to a local store.
The LCBO, which is a Crown corporation of Ontario, sells liquor, wine and beer at more than 600 retail stores throughout the province.
Rick Crumpton, of Pickering, Ont. purchased the 1.75-litre bottle of Smirnoff, and made the startling discovery only after fixing a cocktail with what he thought was vodka.
When the cocktail didn’t taste right, Crumpton said he thought the drink’s other ingredients, orange juice and soda water, had gone bad.
“So I took a swig right from the vodka bottle and thought, ‘Man, this tastes like water,’” Crumpton told CTV Toronto.
"We were lucky it was just water in there, not something more dangerous."
The liquid was sent for an independent analysis, which confirmed that it was indeed water, “with residual amounts of alcohol,” LCBO spokesperson Keeley Rogers said in an email.
The incident was then reported to Toronto police.
Rogers said that the bottle was a 1.75-litre plastic bottle of Smirnoff. She added that there is “sufficient evidence” to indicate that the incident was a result of “deliberate” tampering.
“LCBO takes product tampering and fraudulent returns very seriously and we are working closely with local police, as this is a criminal matter,” Rogers said.
Const. Victor Kwong said Friday that police are aware of more than one similar occurrence at LCBO stores, from Hamilton to the east end of Scarborough.
Kwong said surveillance camera footage indicates the same person may be involved in each incident.
Rogers said that “effective immediately,” all plastic bottle products that are returned to the LCBO will no longer be offered for resale while they investigate. All LCBO employees will also be required to complete mandatory “refresher” training.
“We are also taking the appropriate steps to revise and strengthen our existing policies, procedures where necessary,” Rogers said.
Rogers said that there are no health risks to the customer or public as a result of the incident.