Let me say at the outset that I think the amount of attention this little prank has gotten is out of proportion with its novelty, but since I've got the facts and the video I'll present them here. (The story was picked up by AP; other coverage includes: Washington Post, Consumerist, and Fark.)
Via my contact, the perpetrators of this prank wanted to point out that despite some news reports to the contrary, those involved were not wearing masks when they entered the Taco Bell and did not intend to give the impression they were robbers.
My contact has also informed me that "the kid who was hoarding them did feel bad and returned them. I also believe that his mother said something about 'getting rid' of it," and that he does believe all this publicity "is definatly going to someone's head... I heard MTV and Dave Letterman mentioned."
As you'll be able to see in the video the prank was clearly that: a prank. It was meticulously planned out and even had a name: "Operation F.T.B" which evidently stands for Fire sauce Taco Bell.
The text of the note accompanying that was left with the bags of Fire sauce read:
"Dear Taco Bell, I bet I know what is going on in your heads right now. You may be asking questions like "Why" or "How" but I assure you I'll try to answer those in this letter. Little by little I have accumulated these packages with multiple trips to Taco Bell. It was such a gradual process of taking this sauce that we took 275 lbs of sauce right under your noses without you even noticing. We came here tonight to return to you the 25,000+ fire sauce packages that have been accumulated over the last 3 years. Please do not be angry for we have just come to return the sauce out of kindness. I have thought many nights about what to do with the sauce and I secretly stored it in the trunk of my car. I thought of selling it on ebay or even using it as a practical joke, but after much thought and consideration I finally decided to return all of the sauce to its rightful owner, Taco Bell. Thank you for your dearest understanding on this entire situation. God Bless!"The 'reply' in a statement from Rob Poetsch, a spokesman for Taco Bell, was:
"We do appreciate this person's passion for Taco Bell. We don't encourage people to take out our sauce, but we appreciate them being so forthcoming. We're not sure what we will do with the sauce, but we will NOT be serving it to customers."The video is 6 minutes long. It was produced by one of the pranksters. It includes footage of coverage of the incident by local TV news stations (including an interview with the Chief of Police), bad quality, night footage of the planning of the prank in a parking lot, still shots of the bags and fire sauce packets scattered across the floor of the Taco Bell, and yes, some brief video of the pranksters running into the Taco Bell shot by someone already inside.