Guest Column: Fast times riding the Red Bull

The recent arrest of 21-year-old Eric Petrossian in South Pasadena for the theft of Red Bull caused the city’s police department to put out a bulletin, hoping to find whether there is a link between this crime and others in nearby cities involving this controversial drink popular with young adults, including my twenty-something daughter.

“The stuff isn’t good for you,“ I said to my daughter after she had stocked a few of the attractive red and royal blue cans in our refrigerator.

“What?” she replied with absolute astonishment. “It just takes like apple juice — well, with sort of an aftertaste.”

But unlike apple juice, a can or two of Red Bull a day is not likely to keep the doctor away.

Instead, visitors to the official Red Bull website learn that “for more than 23 years, Red Bull has been giving wings to people across the globe who want to be physically and mentally fit. Red Bull becomes part of their life: during study sessions, intense work days and late nights out, while on the road, and playing sports or video games. In short, Red Bull vitalizes body and mind in virtually any situation of our daily life.”

New reports tell us that Petrossian may have been planning on marketing his collection. The stuff costs about two bucks a can, and, I suspect, buyers with hopes of finding a better life in a can are plentiful.

Sounds like drugs to me.

The animated television show “Family Guy,” where my twentysomething says she first heard of Red Bull, has portrayed this life enhancer as a definite upper.

The lead character, Peter, after consuming the energy drink, talks fast, takes on new challenges and becomes an entirely different person. Even a flower planted outside Peter’s house, after having a can of Red Bull poured on it, is able to jump out of the earth, walk across the street and steal a car.

The consumption of this beverage is about as troublesome as the wave of Red Bull thefts that South Pasadena police are checking out.

Some people, according to articles on the product, rely so heavily on Red Bull to get them through their day — as the website suggests they ought to do — that it borders on addiction.

In 2008, a number of German states ordered retailers to stop selling Red Bull Cola (another company drink) after it tested positive for cocaine. While the levels were too low to cause health risks, the discovery raised awareness about what goes into these types of products.

South Pasadena Police Det. Richard Lee has said his department is looking for a common thread in the recent thefts. “For some strange reason,” he said, “ they’re just in demand.”

Not a lot of sophisticated investigative work is required to figure out that reason. My daughter will be happy to provide the detectives working the case with a link to the “Family Guy” episode showing yard plants hijacking cars and Peter behaving like a mad man.

The not-so-strange reason, I suggest, is simply one of getting high. The not-so-strange reason, I suggest, is drugs.

Smith lives in Altadena.

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