An employee at a Park Ridge Starbucks was charged with spitting in the drinks of police officers, authorities said.
Kevin Trejo, 21, of Westwood was arrested on Monday after an investigation found that he spit in the drinks of officers who patronized the store, Park Ridge Police Capt. Joseph Rampolla said.
“Under the current COVID threat, it is extremely disturbing to think that someone would intentionally spit in your drink,” Rampolla said.
It was not known how many times Trejo allegedly spit in drinks or to how many officers.
A Starbucks spokesperson called Trejo’s actions “reprehensible” and said that he is no longer employed by the company.
“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,” the spokesperson told NorthJersey.com.
The Park Ridge location of the popular coffee chain has historically had an amicable relationship with local police, Rampolla said, hosting multiple “Coffee with a Cop” events.
“We believe this was an isolated act but it does not remove the shock and disgust that our officers feel,” Rampolla said.
Trejo’s charges include subjecting a law enforcement officer to bodily fluid, purposely tampering with a law enforcement officer’s drink and creating a hazardous environment.
The arrest comes at a time of increased tension between police and some members of the community following weeks of rallies for police reform in New Jersey and through the country.
“Officers risk their lives daily, it shouldn’t be while getting coffee,” Patrick Colligan, president of the New Jersey State Policemen’s Benevolent Association, said in a statement.
Rampolla said the department is working to get officers who were possibly exposed tested for COVID-19, although police do not yet know how many officers that may be.
Anthony Zurita is a breaking news reporter for NorthJersey.com. For unlimited access to all the major news happening in North Jersey, subscribe here. To get breaking news directly to your inbox, sign up for our newsletter.
This article originally appeared on NorthJersey.com: Park Ridge NJ: Starbucks employee spit in police officers’ drinks