More LCBO bottles seized by police, after man buys vodka bottle filled with water

Toronto police say they've picked up more bottles from the LCBO that have been tampered with, after a man reported buying a plastic bottle of Smirnoff vodka that was filled with water, instead.

LCBO tampering suspect 'actually seen on camera,' Toronto police say

Pickering man picks up bottle of vodka at LCBO that was filled with water


5 years ago
Rick Crumpton discusses picking up a bottle of vodka at a Scarborough LCBO that was actually filled with water. 0:47

Toronto police say they've picked up more bottles from the LCBO that have been tampered with, after a man reported buying a plastic bottle of Smirnoff vodka that was filled with water.

And they believe the culprit has been caught on video.

"We've now discovered that there are a multiple number of seized bottles that appear to have been tampered with," said Const. Victor Kwong of Toronto Police during a radio interview with CBC Radio One's Here and Now.

Kwong says they discovered bottles at LCBO stores as far west as Hamilton and as far east as Scarborough.

Police are now trying to identify a suspect caught on a security camera.

"The person is actually seen on camera going in as a customer returning something. So it's not an employee," said Kwong.  

The LCBO found out about the initial case of tampering when customer Rick Crumpton phoned the Scarborough store where he picked up the Smirnoff bottle to let them know that it didn't contain vodka. He bought the bottle at a store near Highway 401 and Kennedy Road on Jan. 2. 

Crumpton said he was having a couple of drinks with his wife that night when he realized something was off. First he thought it was the mix that had gone bad but after checking that, he turned to the vodka.

"I took a swig from the bottle and said to my wife, 'Wow that's not vodka,'" said Crumpton.

The 62-year-old then called the store. He said the employee he spoke with wasn't surprised and told him that it happens all of the time.

In a statement, the LCBO told CBC News that Crumpton's complaint is the only one they've received about the problem .

Crumpton said his main concern was making sure that what he and his wife drank was just water and wasn't unsafe.

According to LCBO spokesperson Keeley Rogers, a third-party laboratory analyzed the 1.75 litre bottle and found that it was not hazardous, but was filled with water and residual amounts of vodka.

The LCBO said there's "sufficient evidence at this time to indicate that this was the result of deliberate product tampering."

The LCBO has contacted police and says they're working closely with investigators on the "criminal matter."

Police confirm that they are investigating and suspect that someone tampered with the bottle to try to get two bottles of vodka for the price of one by returning it.

Crumpton said he's satisfied with the response, and just hopes "it stops anybody from ever trying to do this again."

While the investigation is ongoing, the LCBO has decided it will no longer sell plastic liquor bottles that have been returned, regardless of the condition of the bottle. 

It also says employees have now conducted "visual inspections" of all plastic spirit bottles in all LCBO stores to check for tampering. 


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