Perhaps it’s the crowds of customers or the seemingly plentiful walk-in refrigerators that make fast food restaurants such a common environment for criminal activity.
Or perhaps the more likely draw is the cash register — or row of cash registers — that offers untold riches, if a would-be criminal could get it open. In any case, fast food restaurants share a rich history of crimes, both petty and severe.
We’ve rounded up a few of the most memorable fast food crime stories, from the Chili’s waiter whose DNA proved that he spit in a customer’s drink, confirming the possibility of one of our collective worst public dining fears, to the man who found himself in police custody over a nacho cheese dispute.
1. Jamie Lynn Spears’ Pita Pit of Justice
Britney Spears’ baby sister Jamie Lynn made headlines when, during a visit to Pita Pit in Hammond, Los Angeles, she was forced to interrupt a fight in defense of her friend who was reportedly “clocked with a bottle.” Spears dragged her friend behind the sandwich counter to safety and then waved a serrated knife in the air, effectively breaking up the fight.
2. The Chili’s Spitter
Although we would prefer not to imagine the number of times an irritated waiter has done a spit-take into an unknowing customer’s food, we have to face the facts when they’re presented.
Earlier this year, a customer who suspected his Chili’s waiter of spitting into his beverage was vindicated when DNA testing proved that the waiter’s spit was present. At the time of the incident, Chili’s managers denied that the employee was at fault, and he was able to keep his job until he left of his own volition months later. In February, the waiter pled guilty and was sentenced to a one-year conditional discharge.
3. The Del Taco Stabber
A Del Taco cashier did not take kindly to a customer who attempted to point out a mistake in his order, and chose to respond by stabbing the customer in the stomach.
Cashier Gabriel Villalba was subsequently arrested on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon.
4. The Drunkard Who Threw a Dog
A Texas resident who was banned from Starbucks for harassing the staff responded in what was perhaps the most ill-considered move we could imagine: by throwing a dog at the window.
Three months after management banned Larry McHale from the establishment, he returned in a rage, smashed a bottle on the ground in front of the store, and then picked up a four-pound Chihuahua and threw it at the glass front window. At the time of the arrest, police were unsure whether the dog actually belonged to McHale, and it was quickly passed off to a local animal rescue center. McHale, on the other hand, was arrested on charges of animal cruelty.
5. The Heavy-Handed Burglar
Florida resident Troy Cowart put himself firmly in the hall of fame of poorly planned crimes when he attempted to rob two restaurants in a row by pretending his hand was a gun. At the first location, a Subway restaurant, an employee even watched as the would-be robber put his hand down his shirt to get his “weapon” in place.
The employee told Cowart that she knew it was his hand, and he then told her, “Yeah, but I have a knife.” Cowart left when the store’s manager threatened to call the police, only to be arrested at a restaurant across the street, where he was attempting to pull off the same ruse.
Check out more crazy fast food crimes and misdemeanors.
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