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Woman charged with plot to poison by tainting orange juice in Starbucks cooler

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By The Associated Press
Tuesday, April 30, 2013, 9:51 p.m.

SAN FRANCISCO — A California woman faces attempted murder charges because police say she tried to sneak orange juice bottles spiked with a lethal amount of rubbing alcohol inside a Starbucks.

San Jose police arrested Ramineh Behbehanian, 50, late Monday. A customer reported seeing the woman take two bottles of orange juice from her bag and place them in an open-air refrigerated display case at a Starbucks in San Jose about 3:45 p.m., Sgt. Jason Dwyer said on Tuesday.

When the customer told a store manager what he saw, Behbehanian fled. A store employee followed Behbehanian to the parking lot and jotted down her license plate number as she drove off. Other employees called 911 after noticing the bottles had a toxic smell, Dwyer said.

Firefighters on the scene tested the contents and determined that the bottles contained a “lethal quantity” of isopropyl rubbing alcohol mixed with the juice, Dwyer said.

No one drank from the bottles, said Dwyer, who praised the customer's quick actions.

“This person was heads-up enough and reported suspicious activity,” Dwyer said. “I think that person saved lives by doing that.”

Officers tracked down Behbehanian on Monday night at her San Jose home about five miles away from the store. She was placed into custody on suspicion of attempted murder and felony poisoning, Dwyer said.

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