Chuck E. Cheese is a place for mum-on-mum deathmatches. An uninvited kid joined another kid's party. And when the cops finally showed up, they found a rumble between 40 bloodthirsty parents. More, plus video:
That's what the chain gets for serving beer to parents already trying to cope with brats and arcade machine sound effects for hours on end. Not to mention the 30 minute performance of the Rocka-fire explosion animatronic band, playing on a 30 minute loop. Also, throw in the parental insincts to protect your kid from being sat on by the fat kid in the ball pit, and you've basically tossed a match to the powder keg.
The environment also brings out what security experts call the "mama-bear instinct." A Chuck E. Cheese's can take on some of the dynamics of the animal kingdom, where beasts rush to protect their young when they sense a threat.
Parents aren't able to contain their blood lust anymore, put under the pressure of this scenario, and it is happening in Chuck E. Cheeses all over the country, in statistically significant numbers, according to various local police officers. Finally, a mainstream paper, the WSJ, reports what I've known since I worked there as a teen: Chuck E Cheese is pure evil. Here's are the blow by blows of a few particularly gruesome fights, including one involving 85 people:
Chuck E. Cheese's Blotter
Brookfield, Wisc.: April 5, 2008
Seven Brookfield Police officers broke up a fight that involved as many as 40 people, according to police reports. The altercation broke out after an uninvited guest showed up at a child's birthday party. No one was arrested. (See police report.)
Flint, Mich.: Jan. 26, 2008
Flint Township police responded to a call about a large fight at Chuck E. Cheese's that involved as many as 85 people, according to police reports. A fight inside the restaurant between three females erupted, pepper gas was sprayed and people flooded outside the restaurant into the back parking lot. (See police report.)
Toledo, Ohio: Feb. 4, 2007
Police responded to the scene after a fight broke out. Several parents complained about children who were having their picture drawn at one of the machines and then continued to sit there after the drawings were complete. Parents began calling names and then throwing punches. Several people were injured and several cited for disorderly conduct. (See police report.)
Matteson, Ill.: 2007-2008
Police have responded to 12 disturbance calls at Chuck E. Cheese in the last year, said a local law enforcement official. The disturbances ranged in seriousness and included one in which two men attacked another man at a birthday party.
Milwaukee, Wisc.: Aug. 11, 2006
Upon officers' arrival at a south side Chuck E. Cheese's, they spoke with a male who stated that during a verbal argument, an elderly female threw a shoe at him, according to police reports. He stated the fight started over someone calling his child "ugly." He stated he was not injured, his pride was just hurt.
Topeka, Kan.: Jan. 17, 2005
Topeka Police responded to a disturbance call around 5:30 p.m., according to a department spokeswoman. Two adult females were involved in an altercation prior to police arrival. It was reported that one small child was either bumped or stuck by another child. The mothers of the girls began to argue and an altercation ensued. No one was charged.
In Pennsylvania, Susquehanna Township police are searching for suspects involved in a Nov. 9 altercation at a Chuck E. Cheese's outside Harrisburg. The police department gets called to respond to disputes at the restaurant as many as 15 times a year, Police Chief Robert Martin says.
This most recent assault, described in police reports, occurred after a woman in her 30s approached a 6-year-old boy who was playing a videogame. When the boy went to insert more tokens to continue playing, the woman grabbed the tokens out of his hand and told him to stop hogging the game. The boy went and got his 26-year-old mother, who walked over to the woman. The woman began screaming at the boy's mother, and another suspect, a man in his 30s, grabbed the mother by the throat and pushed her against the videogame machine. CEC employees had to pull the man off the mother. Both the man and the woman fled the scene.
How they plan on fixing it:
In Milwaukee, the store posted a sign outlining a dress code that prohibits what it calls "gang-style apparel." That location also implemented a code of conduct that prohibits knives, chains, screwdrivers and glass cutters.
While the chain is a breeding ground for these fights, this police captain says it best:
"The biggest problem is you have a bunch of adults acting like juveniles," says Town of Brookfield Police Capt. Timothy Imler. "There's a biker bar down the street, and we rarely get calls there."
Here's another fight I found on youtube, one of many: