Whataburger table tents

Photo via michaelc333/Instagram Screengrab via iamjulienguyen/Twitter

Police can no longer use Whataburger table markers at crime scenes



Samantha Grasso

Internet Culture

Posted on Aug 11, 2017   Updated on May 22, 2021, 8:54 pm CDT

In an actual Whataburger, Whataburger table tents are used to show restaurant staff where to drop off a customer’s order. But it would appear that Houston police also used the numbered plastic signs for their own organizational purposes—labeling crime scene evidence.

However, that practice is how a thing of the past, and Whataburger fans across Twitter are losing their minds over the news.

On Wednesday, a Twitter user by the name of Olivia shared a photo of a Texas news report, stating “Houston [Police Department] tells officers to stop using Whataburger numbers as evidence markers.” According to a report from the Houston Chronicle, Jodi Silva, a department spokesperson said they’ve brought the hammer down on officers using Whataburger table tents, and any other branded materials (like Starbucks cups) to mark evidence, citing public concerns of the department being sponsored by these corporations.

Silva clarified that it’s not the responsibility for police to mark evidence, so they themselves don’t carry around official evidence markers. However, police are typically at the scene before crime scene members with the Houston Forensic Center. For that, police often mark evidence that could be easily stepped on or washed away in rain with whatever they have on hand—fast food table tents included.

At least one instance of Houston police using the table numbers was recorded in March.

While the fast food chain exists outside of the Lone Star State, this is honestly the most Texas of Texas news, as everyone who’s visited the restaurant at least knows someone—or is someone themselves—who has stolen a coveted Whataburger table tent or two.

Olivia’s tweet, captioned with a simple, “Welcome to Texas,” resonated deeply with anyone who’s so much as held a table number in their hands.





Yep, there is great irony in seeing cops use the same Whataburger resources that Texas teens steal from the restaurant on a regular basis. Whataburger uncharacteristically declined to comment to the Chronicle on the matter. But according to Silva, police aren’t stealing the restaurants’ table numbers—of course not.

“No,” Silva said. “I don’t believe we did.”

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*First Published: Aug 11, 2017, 9:18 am CDT