Ohio McDonald’s shut down temporarily after crack pipe found in customers order

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — A Columbus man claims he received more than one meal during a recent stop at a local fast food chain, sparking an investigation by city health officials.

Columbus Public Health temporarily closed the McDonald’s at 619 Harrisburg Pike after filing a food inspection report Wednesday. The department conducted the inspection after a Columbus man reported finding a crack pipe in his meal. During a further inspection on Thursday, the store was cleared to reopen.

Luther Tibbs told NBC4 that on Tuesday, like any other day, he went to his nearby McDonald’s location to grab a quick bite to eat. However, after paying for his meal and driving away, he said he found an object that he said resembled a crack pipe.

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“We ordered our food, stopped, paid, went to the next window, got our food, stopped and there was a crack pipe,” Tibbs said.

Tibbs said he then returned to the store to express his concerns to the manager, who denied that the item came from staff at the McDonald’s location.

The alleged “crack pipe” found in a McDonald’s bag in Columbus. (Courtesy Photo/Luther Tibbs)

Columbus Public Health’s inspection report appeared to confirm that Tibbs had filed a complaint against the store, but McDonald’s employees claimed not to know how the item appeared in the order. The report outlined the following schedule for Tibbs’ visit on Tuesday:

  • At 9:15 a.m., Tibbs placed an order at the drive-thru window. The manager, a six-year employee of the store, said she packed the order and double-folded the bag before passing it to a 10-year employee, who handed it to the customer.
  • At 10:18 a.m., the customer drove back to the window to tell workers he had found a crack pipe in the bag. A supervisor who had been employed at the restaurant for 20 years went outside to take the customer’s complaint.
  • At 10:30 a.m., Tibbs returned on foot to the McDonald’s drive-thru window to inquire about a solution.
  • Between 10:30 and 11 a.m., the supervisor contacted police before the customer left the premises.

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The inspection report states that investigators observed the following on the McDonald’s premises:

  • Extensive construction work is underway on the restaurant seating area, service counter and beverage station.
  • Construction workers move freely through the food preparation areas and customer seating area.
  • There is construction equipment, debris, trash and dust throughout the store.
  • Beverage service equipment such as drink dispenser, frappuccino machine and more with dust, dirt, screws, unassembled computer equipment and wood trim parts on top.
  • Personal cell phones on the grill.
  • No protective barrier between the construction and catering areas.
  • A sign outside McDonald’s at 619 Harrisburg Pike indicates that the lobby is closed. (NBC4 Photo/Aaron Burd)
  • A sign outside the McDonald’s at 619 Harrisburg Pike indicates the drive-thru is open. (NBC4 Photo/Aaron Burd)

The report did not confirm or deny whether the item found in the bag was a crack pipe, but Columbus Public Health told NBC4 that the inspection was of the facility. The inspectors did not reach any conclusions about the object that gave rise to the complaint.

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At the McDonald’s location, the store appeared to give mixed messages about whether it was open. Signs reading “Drive-Thru Open” and “Lobby Closed” were posted outside the fast food chain. A McDonald’s employee told NBC4 that the drive-thru is currently closed but will reopen soon. Another person, who appeared to be a McDonald’s employee, said the restaurant had not been closed and that the drive-thru was closed briefly for construction but would reopen later in the day.

After passing inspection, McDonald’s reopened at noon Thursday, according to Columbus Public Health.

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