MCMINNVILLE, Tenn.– A deputy's dining discovery at a Waffle House restaurant has launched a full-blown police investigation amid suspicion that someone there might be tampering with food.
"He bit into this, what we would call a tack," said Jackie Matheny, the Sheriff in Warren County. "He heard the crunch, and he bit into the plastic part of it!"
Matheny said Deputy Brad Myers, found the clear-colored thumbtack in his grilled chicken salad around midnight last week while eating at the Waffle House on Smithville Highway. Deputy Myers eventually took his complaint to the district attorney's office, but first McMinnville City Police must complete their investigation and answer the question: was the tack deliberately placed by a Waffle House employee?
"I hope that it was an accident! That's what I hope," Sheriff Matheny admitted, adding that Myers was not injured in any way, only a little embarrassed.
But a similar incident did occur at that very same Waffle House back in September 2005.
Waffle House cook Homer Disher, 19 at the time, admitted to spitting into a to-go order for McMinnville City Police Lt. John Morgan.
"He was upset with the lieutenant, as he had stopped a friend of his a couple days before and he was – as I remember, there wasn't even a charge that came out of it," recalled Police Chief Bryan Denton.
"But he was upset that he had stopped his friend a couple days before."
Disher pleaded guilty to charges of adulteration of food, and retaliation for a past action and even did some serious jail time.
"He received 11 months/29 days at 75 percent, which is 9 months," Chief Denton recalled. "But he had to serve 60 days of that."
Denton said investigators are sifting through interior surveillance camera footage from Waffle House to try to pinpoint the origin; how the thumbtack wound up in the deputy's salad, in other words.
Denton said employees and managers at that Waffle House are cooperating fully, but none wanted to comment to NewsChannel 5.