Weekly Feature

2018-06-13 / Front Page

Chuck E. Cheese’s scene of another alleged altercation

by KEATON T. DEPRIEST Associate Editor

Less than a week after being granted a game room license by the Town Board — and following the panel’s review of the company’s security measures — Chuck E. Cheese’s location at 4994 Harlem Road was the site of an alleged altercation involving a terminated employee.

According to Amherst police, officers responded on Saturday to the business at about 1 p.m. when an assault was reported.

“Responding officers were told that there was a physical altercation between two female employees earlier in the day and one employee was terminated,” Lt. Bruce Mann said. “A few hours later, the terminated employee returned along with two other unknown females and confronted the employee/ victim and a physical confrontation ensued.”

Mann said that according to the police report, the victim received minor injuries consisting of abrasions and bruising. He said the three other individuals fled the area in an unknown vehicle prior to the arrival of officers.

The game room license, which will be valid through the end of the year, was approved by the Town Board on June 4. The business provides food and entertainment geared for children within the 2- to 8-year age range.

Stipulations set by the council mandate that as part of receiving the license, Chuck E. Cheese’s will have an armed security guard present year-round and that a second security guard will be added to the staff during the business’s peak season of January through April.

Additionally, management must require that a visible security presence will be at the front door of the business and that security guards will be responsible for monitoring parking lot activity.

Michelle Chism, a spokesperson from Chuck E. Cheese’s corporate headquarters in Texas, said the company is aware “of a physical altercation that took place on June 9 at [the] Amherst location between two employees, one being a minor.”

“No guests were involved and the instigating employee was terminated immediately,” Chism said in her statement. “The safety of our guests and employees is our number one priority and we will continue to work closely with the community to ensure a safe environment for families.”

Safety and security measures at the business were brought into question by the Town Board during its May 16 meeting after a Buffalo woman was charged with felony assault for her alleged role in a fight that occurred in the parking lot of Chuck E. Cheese’s in April.

According to Amherst police, the business has been the location of several large public disturbances that led to charges within the past few years.

During the Town Board’s June 4 work session, Amherst Police Chief John Askey said the disruptions that officers will generally respond to are conflicts between families and friends at special events, such as birthdays.

Chris Kelly, a regional vice president for the company, said Chuck E. Cheese’s recently upgraded its security camera system with new camera positions. Management also reduced the birthday and party seating area to accommodate up to 190 people, down from its former number of 290 people.

In a review of past issuances of game room licenses by the Town Board, safety and security measures at Chuck E. Cheese’s were being scrutinized as far back as August 2009. The company provided the council with a written security plan that detailed the installation of a surveillance system by October of that year.

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