The 9 Most Memorable Crimes That Went Down At Fast Food Restaurants

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.  

Jamie Lynn Spears’ Pita Pit of Justice

Britney Spears' baby sister Jamie Lynn made headlines when, during a visit to Pita Pit in Hammond, Lousiana, 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


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.

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.

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. 

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. 

The Macaroni Salad Boys

This year, over Mother's Day weekend, three young men undoubtedly embarrassed their parents and themselves when they were quickly identified as the burglars of Build-A-Burger Restaurant in Livingston County, New York — by the trail of macaroni salad they left behind.

Police who arrived on the scene the morning after the break-in discovered "cash register parts, surveillance system parts, rubber gloves, loose change, and a steady trail of macaroni salad" leading from the restaurant to the wooded trail behind the restaurant. According to the local sheriff's office, "It was later discovered that the suspects stole a large bowl of macaroni salad, which they took turns eating along their escape route."

The Man Who Drove Drunk to McDonald’s Twice in One Night

A truly devoted fan of McDonald's was arrested twice in one single night when he drunkenly drove to McDonald's — twice. The first incident went down around 1 in the morning, when Zachary Boynton of Oneonta, New York, was in the drive-thru and drove directly into the car in front of him. At the time of his first arrest, Boynton was three times over the legal blood-alcohol limit.

Hours later, after he was rescued from jail and driven home by someone sober, Boynton was still craving McDonald's. He got back in his car, headed straight for the giant yellow arches, and this time drove his car right into the building. Boynton was taken to the hospital and arrested a second time. 

The Man Who Needed Nacho Cheese

A Martinsburg, West Virginia, resident was arrested after verbally abusing a 7-Eleven clerk who requested that he use less cheese on his order of nachos. The man reportedly responded by yelling that he "eats people" and was "the biggest killer in Martinsburg."

The man then attempted to direct a "series of martial-arts style punches in the employee's direction," according to a police report. Police later located the man in a church, where he tried to resist arrest and gave authorities a fake name. He was later charged with two counts of obstructing an officer and single counts of disturbance of religious worship and assault.


The Subway Sandwich Dieter–Turned–Robber

An Alabama man who was apparently displeased with the lack of a trim waist as a result of the much-hyped Subway sandwich diet, popularized by Jared Fogle, took his revenge on the sandwich chain by burglarizing a series of stores. Zachary Rapheal Torrance, then 18, robbed four Subway restaurants in four days at gunpoint in an attempt at revenge.

"I don't know if he was kidding or not, but he said he had tried the Jared diet and it hadn't worked for him, so he wanted his money back," said police chief Chuck Hagler.