Grace Brown is a Pennsylvania woman caught on security video urinating in a bin of potatoes in the produce aisle of a West Mifflin Walmart.
Brown turned herself in to West Mifflin Police Tuesday after learning she was wanted by police over the incident, her attorney told WTAE-TV. She was charged with criminal mischief, open lewdness, disorderly conduct and public drunkenness, the West Mifflin Police said in a press release. The charges are all misdemeanors or summary charges.
Police began investigating after they were contacted by a Walmart loss prevention officer.
“The LPO was informed by an employee that on the day before he noticed urine on the floor near the potatoes in the produce area. The LPO then pulled video that depicted a female at approximately 22:10 hours on July 24, 2019 urinating in the potato bins. The LPO then reported the incident to the West Mifflin Police,” police said in the press release. “The Detectives of the West Mifflin Police Department investigated the incident and were able to identify the actor as Grace Brown and made contact with her. Ms. Brown along with her attorney came to the station where she identified herself as the person urinating on the potatoes.”
The Police Chief Says Brown Doesn’t Remember What Happened & ‘Honestly I Think She Thought It Was a Toilet
West Mifflin Police Chief Anthony Topolnak told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that Grace Brown said she does not remember what happened. Topolnak told the newspaper, “Honestly I think she thought it was a toilet. She pulls down her pants, squats, sits there, does her thing, pulls up her pants and leaves.” He said the potatoes were being kept at “floor-level.”
Police said the Allegheny County District Attorney’s office was contacted by investigators and recommended the charges that were brought against her. According to police, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Pennsylvania was also contacted about the case. It is not clear if federal charges could be brought against Brown.
Walmart Said the ‘Safety of Our Customers Is a Top Priority’ & Called the Actions Brown Is Accused of ‘Obscene Conduct’ That Is ‘Outrageous’
The photos show Brown carrying a bag, her cell phone, and ear buds in the store. An employee witnessed her urinating into a bin of potatoes and called the police immediately, according to KDKA.
Walmart said in a statement to the outlet that it quickly disposed of the potatoes and cleaned the area.
“The safety of our customers is a top priority for us,” the statement said. “This type of obscene conduct is outrageous and we immediately disposed of the affected products and sanitized the area to ensure its cleanliness and safety for our customers. We’re working with the West Mifflin Police Department to find the responsible party and have them prosecuted.”
Customers Were Grossed Out Over the Video
“My first reaction is one, kind of horrified. I realize that some people have issues that might lead them to do things that might be considered unusual,” Walmart customer Ben Elliot told WPXI.
“That’s really gross; it’s like gross. Why do it? She must be ill or something,” Walmart customer Tai Rid Wan told KDKA.
Brown’s Attorney Says His Client ‘Is Working to Make Her Life Better’
Brown’s attorney, Casey White, told WTAE-TV, “Clearly, she doesn’t want to see herself portrayed in that light. She’s a young lady that has a full-time job. She’s a high school graduate. She’s working to make her life better.
Brown has not commented. Court records show that Brown has previously been arrested, including on a charge of drunken driving by a minor.
White told the Post-Gazette that his client has made a “series of poor decisions” and is embarrassed by the “regrettable situation.” He added, “This was not a stunt. It was not an attempt to be a viral internet sensation. She has no malicious ill will toward Walmart. This was just a young lady who made some poor decisions.”
The Walmart Incident Comes After Ice Cream Licking Videos That Went Viral
The Walmart incident follows two other high-profile videos in which shoppers were recorded licking ice cream and putting it back on the shelf.
Police in Lufkin, Texas arrested a 17-year-old girl after she was recorded licking a Blue Bell ice cream container before returning it to the freezer.
Blue Bell removed all of its containers of “Tin Roof” ice cream from the Lufkin Walmart’s shelves following the incident.
The teen was charged as a juvenile.
Days later, police arrested Lenise Martin III, 36, after he was recorded in a copy-cat incident in a Louisiana store.
Martin was seen on video licking a carton of ice cream, running his finger through it, and returning it to the shelf.
Martin was charged with unlawful posting of criminal activity for notoriety and publicity, and criminal mischief.
He claims he should not have been arrested because he ultimately bought the ice cream.
“Taking into consideration that he eventually purchased the same container is one thing. However he puts it on Facebook to gain this notoriety and at the end of the day, it gives other people ideas that are not the best interest of public health,” Assumption Parish Sheriff’s Office Commander Lonny Cavalier told CNN. “We believe it’s a copy cat incident. He did it and he did want to create some notoriety for himself by posting it on Facebook and that’s exactly what he did.”