Robbers Stuff Five Guys Employees Into Freezer

What was supposed to be an ordinary closing shift for four Five Guys employees in Ann Arbor, Michigan earlier this week turned into a scary situation when robbers decided to lock them inside the walk-in freezer.

Per WXYZ-TV Detroit, the incident happened on March 9 as the employees were preparing to close down the restaurant for the day. When one of them went to take out the trash, an armed suspect approached them with a gun, forcing the worker to retreat back into the restaurant. A second suspect then appeared behind the first and demanded cash from the safe. During this time, police noted one of the Five Guys employees on duty managed to get away and call for help. The other three, meanwhile, complied with the robbers' demands, handing them cash from the register. It was then that the suspects decided to push the three employees still inside into the walk-in freezer, while threatening them with a gun. Once the door was sealed, the suspects fled the scene.

Though the robbers did escape with some money, law enforcement assured the news outlet that, thankfully, no one involved was seriously hurt. Prior to the police arriving, employees were also able to safely exit from the freezer thanks to an emergency safety lock on the inside. At the time of writing, both suspects remain at large, and Ann Arbor police are requesting anyone with knowledge of the incident to call 734-794-6939. 

Restaurant workers face continued threats of violence

Despite a general downward trend in the prevalence of criminal activity over the past 30 years, per the U.S. Department of Justice, restaurant and retail employees remain at a critical risk of becoming victims of violent crimes (via Fight For $15 ). In September, Restaurant Business Online shared a report from the FBI that revealed 5,642 robberies occurred in U.S.-based restaurants alone in the year 2020. Keep in mind, that figure reflects the first year of the pandemic when restaurants were not as accessible, so the actual number of robberies may be higher now.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) says a number of factors make restaurant and retail employees particularly vulnerable to robberies, including being open during late hours, and the fact that the workers often handle cash. The fact that most fast food locations don't have proper security only makes them an even easier target. In the case of the Five Guys incident in Ann Arbor recently, all of these things were true (the police were reportedly notified after 11 p.m., one hour after closing).

When you also factor in the fact that workers face the constant threat of harassment and assault from angry and sometimes violent customers, along with the health risk of contracting COVID-19, and still below-average wages, it's easy to see why many people have left the food service industry in droves. But, until companies make bold moves to ensure worker safety protection across the board, it's possible the losses businesses endure in the coming months may be greater than the value of what could be taken from their cash registers.