Waffle House Serves Up Crime, Wackiness

From robberies to terror plots, fast-food chain has it all
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 27, 2011 12:01 PM CST
Waffle House Serves Up Crime, Wackiness
Colleton County Fire and Rescue Department director Barry McRoy poses in front of the Waffle House in Walterboro, SC, Feb. 18, 2008.   (AP Photo/The Post And Courier, Melissa Haneline)

Unlike Vegas, what happens at Waffle House doesn't stay at Waffle House, and what happens at Waffle House seems to be an inordinate amount of crime and strange stuff. The New York Times examines an unlikely rash of crime tied to the cheery yellow-roofed all-day-breakfast joints—ranging from a duo who robbed 18 Waffle Houses in Georgia and Alabama this summer to four oldsters who the FBI says plotted terrorist hits at a Waffle House.

Waffle House is a logical scene of the crime, says a Georgia cop: “They are cash-driven,” he said. “They are near Interstate exits. And they are open 24 hours, when people aren’t necessarily in a sober state of mind.” But wackiness also seems to originate there, including the Florida politician who says he got the idea to resurrect firing squads from a constituent he met there; the feds even use a Waffle House Index to determine how bad a natural disaster has hit. But it's something of a chicken-and-egg question, says a Waffle House rep: “It’s not that more of these stories happen at Waffle Houses. It’s just getting more attention when it happens at a Waffle House.” But patrons don't seem worried: “We’ll keep coming to Waffle House," says one longtime customer. "We’re not that worried.” (More Waffle House stories.)

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