Coffee "Spiker" Gets Three Years

September 6, 2005 ( - A Skokie, Illinois worker who was so angry at his bosses that he spiked the company coffeemaker with toxic chemicals and urine was sentenced last week to three years in prison.

According to a report in the Chicago Tribune, a videotape shot last October by a hidden security camera captured 51-year-old Kemarat Vathananand dumping substances into a coffeemaker over a period of months at the Schiller Park metal-finishing plant where he had worked for 15 years.

What triggered this behavior? According to Schiller Park Police, Vathananand said after his arrest that he became enraged last summer when he was told by a boss that he couldn’t drink coffee in the shop portion of Castle Metal Finishing where he worked.

Vathananand told authorities he spiked the liquid with different chemicals, including lead acetate, a toxic solvent. He had pleaded guilty earlier to felony food tampering, which carries a possible three- to seven-year prison term. He originally was charged with attempted murder and food tampering.

While many employees had complained of feeling ill and of vomiting after drinking the coffee, no one was seriously injured. The problem was detected when a suspicious employee discovered a white substance in the water reservoir, took a sample and found lead acetate. Employees contacted police, who installed the camera a day later.

Vathananand told police that when he first started putting things in the coffee, he did not notice anyone becoming sick, so he started putting in larger quantities on a more frequent basis, prosecutors said according to the Tribune.