Cops: Cook added bleach to coworkers’ drinks

By Tara Morgan - bio | email

SPOTSYLVANIA, VA (WWBT) - A bizarre crime that makes restaurant managers cringe. 29-year-old Jermaine Johnson is accused of spiking his co-workers' drinks with bleach. Authorities say it happened at the Denny's located in the 5300 block of Jefferson Davis Highway in Spotsylvania County.

Authorities say Johnson first claimed it was an accident, but then quickly changed his story and said he meant to do it. The Denny's manager wouldn't comment, but other restaurant managers we spoke with say it's something they hope to never see at their business.

Jermaine Johnson worked as a cook at the Denny's on Route 1 when Spotsylvania authorities say his last concoctions left a bad taste in his co-worker's mouths. Johnson is accused of pouring a bleach-based cleaning solution into a waitresses coffee and a waiter's soda Monday. They sipped on the drinks at the servers' work station in between taking breakfast orders.

"Although he professed to be out there cleaning, when the officer asked how frequently he cleans the waitress/waiter work station he said never," said Lt. Col. Michael Timm.

Authorities say Johnson admitted he tampered with the drinks on purpose. Authorities say Johnson hasn't said why he spiked his co-workers drinks. That there was no indication of a previous argument or that he was frustrated with them. The crime baffles the managers at Sam's Pizza and Subs.

"I don't know if he thought it was a prank or a joke; sometimes you don't play around," said Omar Faraj, who manages the restaurant.

"Well it's weird and you have to make sure you hire good people, not anyone," said the restaurant's assistant manager, Izzat Palata.

While these manager say they work with good people, they still keep close watch to make sure nothing like that happens.

"You just got to keep up with things in your store. We keep an eye 7 days a week, 24/7 if we have to, but something like that is dangerous and I don't think anybody should play with that stuff," said Faraj.

The two Denny's employees are said to be doing fine. Johnson is being held without bond on two felony counts of altering a drink with intent to harm. If convicted, he could face up to a year in jail for each charge.

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