Viral video of rat in Waipahu Don Quijote prompts investigation

Viral video of rat in Waipahu Don Quijote prompts investigation

WAIPAHU, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Brian Peralta was shopping in the seafood section at the Waipahu Don Quijote store Tuesday night when something in the corner of his eye caught his attention.

"All of a sudden I saw something shake ... and I look up and I see this big rat coming from the ceiling," said the Waipahu resident. "It was probably the size of a shoe you know, like a size 11, size 12 shoe."

Peralta shot a video of the rat with his cell phone for more than 30 seconds as it scampered up and down light fixtures in the store.

Two days later, that video has attracted more than 230,000 views. Many have said they were disgusted by the sight of a rat in the supermarket.

"Oh my God, it's so gross," said Ewa Beach resident Dhada Gallardo.

Said another customer: "I don't want to come here anymore."

But not all were offended.

"It's Hawaii. It's to be expected. It's part of the scenery around here," said Keoki Shuford, of Waipahu.

Peralta's video prompted the state Health Department to conduct an investigation on Wednesday.

But inspectors doubt the store is infested. Rather, they think this was a lone rat that got into store through a ceiling crawl space that was exposed during ongoing store renovation.

"They did not find any evidence of infestation," said Peter Oshiro, the Health Department's environmental health program manager.

"When the inspector inspected the place, he could no find signs of rodent droppings or gnawed food items, which is usually a sign that the rodents are living there."

Don Quijote officials did not return calls for comment. But managers told the Health Department that the store is inspected twice a week by a pest control company and the store has set a number of bait stations and rat traps outside.

The neighborhood has a chronic rat problem.

The supermarket is located next to the Oasis apartment complex that residents say is infested with rodents. Earlier this year, one tenant told Hawaii News Now that he trapped and killed about 20 rats in his apartment.

Meanwhile, at Don Quijote on Thursday, the ceiling openings from two days ago were covered up and there were no signs of rats.

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