When tensions flare over breakfast, it’s typically no worse than a battle in the neverending war to determine which city has the best bagel, or the occasional drunken shitshow after a few too many mimosas on a Sunday morning. Sometimes, though, things gets out of hand. When breakfast longing reaches hangry levels, human instincts can often trump reason. In an instant, the prospect of prison time may suddenly seem way less daunting than, say, actually paying for a stack of pancakes, or not lashing out at your girlfriend for making waffles by accident. What follows are nine of the weirdest breakfast crimes ever committed.
More than one, in fact, involve waffles. A number happened in Florida—the strange-crime capital of the United States. All are regrettable. Breakfast is a beautiful gift and should be treated as a mealtime of peace and love. We know that it can inspire fierce emotions, but food will always taste better when obtained lawfully and enjoyed without malice. Let these tales be a warning that weird crime never pays, even if you get a doughnut out of it.
1. Biscuits 'N' Gravy and Reckless Driving
When Charles Pierce, 91, accidentally drove his car through the window of the since-closed Biscuits 'N' Gravy & More restaurant in Port Orange, Florida, on a January morning in 2010, he decided to make the best out of a bad situation: He sat right down and ordered a hearty breakfast.
After channeling his inner Kool-Aid Man, Pierce enjoyed two eggs over light, grits, bacon, coffee and a side of rye toast, according to the Sun-Sentinel. He said it was “really good.”
“I ordered that after about an hour—I was pretty shaken up," Pierce said.
A customer was injured in the crash but the elderly driver suffered no injuries. Police said Pierce received a citation for reckless driving.
2. Waffle Rage
For those who prefer a sweet breakfast, waffles can be a perfectly fine substitute for pancakes. Not for Gainesville, Florida, resident James E. Irving Jr. In 2014, Irving got angry when his live-in girlfriend made him waffles for his birthday instead of his favorite dish. During the ensuing fight, he poked her eye, which landed him at Alachua County jail with a misdemeanor battery charge.
3. 30 Years for a Doughnut
Scott A. Masters, 41, couldn’t stomach the idea of shelling out 52 cents for a doughnut. But after he slipped the treat into his sweatshirt and bolted out of a Country Mart in Farmington, Missouri, pushing an employee on the way, he almost ended up paying an even higher price: 30 years behind bars.
The issue wasn’t the doughnut, County Prosecutor Wendy Wexler Horn said, but the push. Classified as a minor assault, it turned the petty shoplifting charge into a forcible robbery, which carried a potential prison sentence between five and 15 years, reported the Daily Journal. Masters had a lengthy criminal record, including prior felonies, which could have given prosecutors reason to double the maximum sentence. Ultimately, Masters avoided the worst, pleading guilty to second-degree robbery and getting five years of supervised probation.
The irony here is that Masters didn’t even get to eat the doughnut that landed him in so much trouble. He says he threw it to the ground as he fled the store.
4. IHOP and Dash
We’ve all been there: 1 a.m. on a Friday at IHOP, basking in the aftermath of a delicious late-night pancake run. That’s where Matt Skytta, 55, was back in 2014. Only difference was, he didn’t want to pay for his meal. So when a server at the Orlando pancake franchise asked him to cough it up, Skytta went for broke. He presented an Orlando Police Department insignia patch and claimed—falsely—that he was a police officer and therefore entitled to a free meal. When that didn’t work, he got angry, threatening the server and then baring his derrière. By the time police arrived, he was claiming to be a Green Beret and shouting, “If I die, Obama dies!” Skytta was taken in on charges of trespassing, disorderly conduct, and impersonating a law enforcement officer.
5. Georgia Man vs. Waffle House Window
Waffle House, like an old friend, is beloved because it’s so dependable. It’s open all the time, unless it’s essentially the apocalypse—which, by the way, has made it FEMA’s go-to barometer for how serious things are on the ground in a disaster zone. Moreover, its food and service are consistently decent and comforting. Indeed, the world is always changing, but Waffle House mostly stays the same.
That may explain why one customer was so upset last year, when he got his check at a Georgia Waffle House and discovered that his sausage biscuit was more expensive than usual—up to $1.50 from $1. Employees say Mitchell Harris Feinberg, 39, threw his bill to the ground then kicked the front door in, causing the glass to shatter. Police charged Feinberg with disorderly conduct and second-degree criminal damage to property, and later, in a Facebook post, offered him—and all of us—some good advice on the matter: “Tip of the day: When the Waffle House employee tells you the sausage biscuit is no longer $1 and the new price is $1.50 please refrain from punching the glass door open while storming out. Glass tends to shatter when met with such force and you will be swiftly taken into custody.”
6. The Great Canadian Maple Syrup Heist
The Great Canadian Maple Syrup Heist wasn’t only one of the largest thefts in Quebec history—it was perhaps the greatest breakfast-related burglary of all time.
Over the course of a year between 2011 and 2012, a team of criminals made off with 6 million pounds of syrup, worth about $18 million, from the Global Strategic Maple Syrup Reserve in Saint-Louis-de-Blandford. Their target was a warehouse where the powerful Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers stored 16,000 barrels of the sticky stuff—about one-tenth of Québec’s annual production—as back-up, in the event of a bad harvest year. With help from some double-crossing warehouse employees, the bandits hauled the goods off in trucks, and replaced the contents of some of the barrels with water.
Although some of the pilfered syrup was sold on the black market in Canada and the United States, officials were able to recover at least two-thirds of it. More than 20 people were arrested.
7. Punished for a Pop-Tart
Last year, police found a teenage girl in South Carolina living in a tent in the woods about a quarter-mile from her home, serving out a week-long punishment issued by her parents, James and Crystal Driggers. Why? She ate a Pop-Tart without their permission, they said.
The teen had been given a whistle, a roll of toilet paper, a flashlight, and a watch, and was told that if she didn’t appear at a fence by her parents’ home at the right time every day, she wouldn’t eat, police said. She’d already endured two days of the punishment when police found her. The Driggers were arrested with charges of child neglect.
8. Escape to the Waffle House
When 28-year-old Marcus Trae Johnson stole a van in June, it seemed obvious that the first place to take it was a Florida Waffle House. So off he went, while, unbeknownst to him, police tracked his movements via the vehicle’s GPS system. The police then followed the van to a truck stop, and finally to Johnson’s home, where they arrested him on charges of grand theft auto.
9. Justice Tastes Like Bacon
Breakfast isn’t always a harbinger of bad behavior. Just as often, it can set things right. That was the case in Altrincham, England, last month, when an 86-year-old woman was nearly robbed while shopping in a supermarket. According to Greater Manchester Police, the woman had just withdrawn some cash from an ATM and grabbed a cart in the market when a stranger confronted her and demanded she turn over her money.
The senior citizen promptly activated Beast Mode. She took hold of a packet of bacon and hit the would-be-thief over the head with it until she went away. Later, one might imagine, our hero cooked up the bacon and discovered the taste of justice: salty, porcine, and delicious.