It was the discovery that had the whole city talking Thursday after a pair of eyeballs was tossed in the trash at a convenience store.
All eyes have been on the Conoco, located at Northwest 112th Street and Northwest Ambassador Drive, Thursday as the mystery unfolded as to why two men left a container on the trash can with bloody eyeballs inside.
It turns out they are not human eyes. After running some tests, police determined the eyeballs likely came from a pig.
It was all the buzz at the Northland gas station as everyone had a strong reaction when they heard about a container with bloody eyeballs left there.
"Eyeballs in a trash can is kind of weird I think," customer Andrew Thomas said. "I think it's pretty crazy. I heard about it inside - do you know what it was left for?"
Latishia McClure sure wants to know that answer. She's the clerk who made the eye-popping discovery when she was taking a break and saw a box sitting on the trash can that caught her eye. When she opened it, she saw some ice packs and a bag that left her speechless.
"It was freaky walking out there to that box," she said, adding she never expected to find eyeballs and it was by far the strangest day at work she's ever had. "I saw white and strings of blood and knew it couldn't be fake. It looked like human and animal blood and, as I lifted it up, I saw an eyeball staring back at me."
She called police and detectives pulled surveillance video from the convenience store that shows two men pull up in a blue Toyota, possibly a Venza with Nebraska license plates at 8:30 p.m. the night before. They tried to shove the box, which said "Keep Refrigerated," in the trash can near the gas pumps. When it didn't fit, they just left it sitting on top of the trash and then drove away.
"Why would you try to leave a box like that in a trash can? It doesn't make any sense," McClure said.
At first police didn't know if the eyeballs were human, so they called experts at the Heartland Lions Eye Bank Center nearby to see if the package belonged to them.
"The box of eye tissue was not our container and in no way meets stringent requirements for tissue we use for sight-saving transplant procedures," said Tony Bavuso, CEO of the eye bank.
Bavuso said their center helps restore sight to seven people per day. He showed KCTV5 how real eye tissue is transported in containers with important labeling and said whole eyeballs are rarely packaged for transplants. Bavuso said they typically package just the cornea of the eye.
"This is the cornea, the clear part front of eye," he said.
Finally, after thorough testing, police said the eyeballs are from pigs and not humans. But why the men dumped them in a gas station trash can remains a mystery as McClure is left to deal with all the funny optical jokes as far as the eye can see.
"This is just the beginning, it will go on for a few days at Conoco - all kinds of jokes. People never let me live this down," she said.
Police said no crime was committed so they are no longer investigating the case.
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