Three employees at the Burger King fast-food restaurant in Sandpoint have been fired after a Bonner County sheriff’s deputy saw one of them spit into his sandwich and scoop up french fries off the floor.
One of the employees was a teenager who had previously been arrested by Deputy John Lunde, said restaurant owner Scott Hatter. The employee, who was not identified, apparently was seeking revenge.
The restaurant conducted an investigation and fired the employee and two others who participated in the incident as soon as the deputy’s complaint was confirmed, Hatter said.
“This is something that could have happened anywhere,” Hatter said. “We did everything we could as a company.”
Bonner County Sheriff Chip Roos said the restaurant’s owners have cooperated fully with the investigation and hired an investigator to conduct their own inquiry. Results of both investigations have been forwarded to the Bonner County prosecutor’s office for possible charges.
“They’re all for (filing charges) to make sure the message is loud and clear that this cannot happen,” Roos said, referring to the restaurant’s owners.
Lunde, who was on duty and in uniform, ordered the meal Oct. 25 through the drive-up window about 9 p.m. He watched as an employee spit into a sandwich and scooped fries off the floor.
The deputy parked his patrol car and went inside to complain to the manager, who personally made and served Lunde a new meal while he watched, Hatter said.
Roos said the reaction by the fired employees compounded the severity of the incident.
“The scariest part of it was, ‘Oh we just got the cop,”’ Roos said. “There was no remorse (by the offending employees). Nothing.”
The sheriff said he is confident the restaurant has taken care of the problem and did not blame the business for the incident. He called the restaurant the first one he’d choose to eat at in the Sandpoint area because of the quick and responsible reaction from its owners.
Employees have “all been grabbed by the throat and said this is what is going to happen” if food is tampered with, Roos said.
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