Birmingham AL June 8 2017 A Birmingham police sergeant is biting mad after he bit into a 1-inch bolt in his Arby's Classic Roast Beef sandwich.
Sgt. Patrick Cosby said he doesn't know if the bolt was intentionally placed there because he is a police officer - there have been similar incidents around the country in what officers feel is a continuing anti-police sentiment - or whether it was a machine malfunction, which Arby's officials claim.
But either way, he said, it's unacceptable.
"I don't know how you make a sandwich with a bolt that large in it and not be intentional,'' Crosby told AL.com. "I can't wrap my head around that."
Christopher Fuller, a senior vice president for communications with Arby's Restaurant Group Inc., provided this statement on the incident: "We take this matter very seriously and conducted an immediate investigation. After reviewing video footage from our kitchen speaking with our team members, we are confident no one was targeted in this instance. We have a long-standing tradition of supporting our men and women in uniform, and we are currently working with the guest to resolve the matter."
The incident happened Thursday, June 1, while Cosby was working late on the department's Operation Eagle crime-fighting effort. He went through the drive-thru at Arby's on Seventh Avenue South in downtown Birmingham, where he ordered the Classic Roast Beef meal.
Cosby was in uniform and driving his city car, which also is equipped with police lights. The employee in the drive-thru greeted him with a "Hey Officer." "They clearly know I'm a police officer,'' he said.
He was first handed his drink, and then his bag of food, which he took back to police headquarters. "I took the first bite into the sandwich, I mashed down on something really hard,'' he said. "I pulled back and spit it out and looked into the sandwich. There's a massive bolt laying there. I'm kind of in shock."
"I'm playing this out in my head,'' he said. "I wondered if it was intentionally done."
Cosby took pictures, which he sent to his wife. He then went back to the restaurant, and asked for a manager. He pulled out the sandwich and showed her what he had. "She's kind of thrown by it,'' he said.
The manager went into the back and told the employees in the kitchen and told them what had happened and that they needed to determine where it had come from and what was going on. "She came back, and I said, 'I would like to think that it was not intentional, but I don't know,''' Cosby said, adding that he got his money back.
Meanwhile, his wife posted the photo on Facebook with a warning to other area law enforcement officers, and contacted the Arby's customer complaint hotline. She said she spoke with a representative who told her it was was one of the worst complaints she had taken, and that someone from the national cooperate office would be in touch.
They heard nothing on Friday, and then on Saturday Cosby received a call from a regional supervisor who told him that they didn't believe the bolt was intentionally put in the sandwich, but instead had fallen into it from a malfunctioning meat cutter. Employees slice and weigh the meat when making each individual sandwich.
Next, Cosby said, he heard from a company vice president who was apologetic. "He said until they investigate it, they won't know what happened but he also said from what he understood, the bolt came off of a cutter,'' he said.
"I said, 'Well OK, let's entertain that for a moment. Either somebody intentionally placed the bolt there or there's been gross negligence in using a cutter you know is faulty,''' Cosby said. "Obviously he was very disturbed by it."
Cosby filed a report with the Birmingham Police Department, and contacted the FDA, which instructed him to contact the Jefferson County Health Department. Cosby said the agency visited the restaurant on Monday.
He said the Health Department was also told the bolt in the sandwich was the result of a faulty cutter with which the restaurant has had previous problems. "They're alleging it's not intentional, but I don't see how that makes it on to a sandwich,'' Cosby said. "I just know that 100 percent of the people who have seen the picture, many who have been in the restaurant business for 30 years, say there's no way it's not intentional."
A police officer in Ohio was hospitalized last year after biting into a sandwich with shards of glass. In multiple incidents throughout the country, police officers have claimed they were denied service because of their profession.
"I feel like it was intentional. What are the chances it was an officer that got the 1 -inch bolt in his sandwich?'' Cosby said. "If I were making a sandwich at home, I'd know if a 1-inch bolt was in there. They're not owning up to it."