San Jose Police arrested Ramineh Behbehanian, 50, late Monday. A customer reported seeing the woman take two bottles of orange juice from her bag and place them in a refrigerated display case at the Starbucks in San Jose around 3:45 p.m., Sgt. Jason Dwyer said Tuesday.
When the customer told store staff what he saw, Behbehanian fled. A store employee followed Behbehanian to the parking lot and jotted down her license plate number as she drove off. Store employees called 911 after noticing the bottles had a toxic smell, Dwyer said.
Firefighters on the scene tested the contents and determined that the bottles contained a "lethal quantity" of isopropyl rubbing alcohol mixed with the juice, Dwyer said.
No one drank from the poisonous bottles, said Dwyer, who praised the customer's quick actions.
"This person was heads-up enough and reported suspicious activity," Dwyer said. "I think that person saved lives by doing that."
Officers tracked down Behbehanian Monday night at her San Jose home located about five miles away from the store. She was placed into custody on suspicion of attempted murder and felony poisoning, Dwyer said.
Police are still looking for a motive. They believe it was an isolated incident, Dwyer said.
Dwyer declined to say how much rubbing alcohol was actually in the bottles, but he said it was sufficient for police to charge Behbehanian with attempted murder.
The store was open for business on Tuesday.
Behbehanian could make her first appearance in court as soon as Thursday, authorities said.