You’ve seen the YouTube videos.
While researching this article, I noticed “Chuck E. Cheese fight” received 1,260,000 hits on Google. I expected far more, considering the family pizza and arcade joint is culturally synonymous with violence.
Its webpage boasts the tagline “Where Awesome Parents Go.” Though after immersing myself in countless stories illustrating levels of conflict that would make a Somali pirate blush, I have to assume that descriptor is only a PR stunt to resurrect an image that died long ago. Here are seven grisly crimes that happened at Chuck E. Cheese’s.
1. Man commits quadruple homicide in Aurora, Colorado, Chuck E. Cheese’s
Aurora just can’t catch a break, can it? In 1993, disgruntled ex-employee Nathan Dunlap entered the doors of Chuck E. Cheese and hid in the bathroom until closing time. He emerged from the can and opened fire on employees Ben Grant, 17, Colleen O’Connor, 17, Sylvia Crowell, 19, and Marge Kohlberg, 50. Every one of these culinary artists was murdered, except for a line cook by the name of Bobby Stevens who played dead after he was shot point-blank in the face.
A Colorado jury sentenced Dunlap to death three years later. He’s been the subject of fiery debate over the merits of capital punishment, though a better question to ponder is why a person would commit psycho-murder over getting the boot from Chuck E. Cheese’s.
2. “I don’t wanna go to Chuck E. Cheese no more,” says Robert Olchnski, 3, after witnessing grandma get beaten and choked
Grandmother Carol Brown just wanted to see her grandchildren enjoy a nice quiet birthday at the local Chuck E. Cheese in Southgate, California. But things would take a turn for the worse. After a few choice words were exchanged between the Olchanski party and a neighboring family, a 200-pound beast pounced on gam-gam and began hurling deuces in her precious elderly face. The assailant then attempted to strangle the life out her as her grandkids watched in horror.
The birthday boys vowed to never step foot inside another Chuck E. Cheese. Just another story in the veritable holocaust of senior citizens getting brutalized “where kids can just be kids.”
3. A brawl of 18 breaks out, resulting in a shooting and multiple drug arrests
A verbal squabble escalated into a violent clash of 18 patrons at the Boynton Beach, Florida, Chuck E. Cheese in 2013. Three were arrested and a man was shot in the leg (It’s unclear whether the restaurant gave him a voucher for three free arcade games after the incident). The bigger crime, though – one that would incense any respectable customer – is that the party left without paying its $286 bill, or a tip.
When the embers and shouts and violence ceased, police found multiple bottles of Ciroc vodka in mother Briana Walker’s diaper bag, who was also arrested after tossing bags of pot, Xanax, morphine and crack from the getaway car.
4. Two arrested after smoking heroin in Chuck E. Cheese bathroom stall
If you’re going to do drugs, kids, shoot it – don’t smoke it. It’s less noticeable that way. Daniel Lubach, 27, and Collin Zborowski, 28, were arrested and charged with possession of heroin last month. Total buzzkill and all-around party pooper Sgt. Patrick Wessel of the Costa Mesa Police verified the two met at the restaurant to meet a drug supplier.
5. Boyfriend thwarts attempted rape in bathroom
In 2011, a Murrieta 16-year-old was arrested for attacking and beating 39-year-old Nora Reynoso in the ladies’ room. Sweating piss, vinegar and pizza grease, her bounty-hunter boyfriend held the teenager by the neck until the authorities arrived.
A year later, the teen – whose name isn’t specified since he’s a minor – struck again, fondling a woman on a playground with her two kids. I don’t know about you, but I say, um, put him away for a very long time.
6. Brawl of 18? How about 20?
In the small town of Brookfield Township, Wisconsin, violence broke out after a child was taking too long to exchange tickets for a toy (OK, so maybe some anger was warranted, but not violence). Twenty people were involved in the savage frenzy. CEC Entertainment Inc. issued a statement shortly after, explaining “99.99 percent of its 65 million guest visits in 2012 occurred without violence.” Yes, but that’s still 6,500 visits with violence. Which means every day there are 18 instances of bloodshed in Chuck E. Cheese’s across America. Do the math!
7. A twenty-person brawl is weak. How about 85?
A mere tiff between three females exploded into a rumble of 85 in Flint Township, Michigan. Police used pepper spray to ameliorate the madness, calling on dozens of squad cars to control the crowd. No one was arrested.
If you, or anyone you know, have ever been the victim of assault at a Chuck E. Cheese, please, write them a Yelp review. Let’s put this wicked cesspool of chaos, barbarity and pretty decent pizza out of business for good.
BONUS: Fight breaks out with mother holding a baby right in the middle of it.
You know, because seven horrific stories just wasn’t enough.