Why So Serious? 'Joker' Harasses NY Applebee's Customers

By: The Huffington Post Email
By: The Huffington Post Email

(The Huffington Post) - A dark nut is on the rise.

A man wearing white face paint, a green wig and the same red, menacing grin as Heath Ledger's character in "The Dark Knight" was arrested for drunkenly harassing Applebee's patrons in western New York, police said.

Aaron Chase, 24, sat at a Chautauqua County Applebee's bar on Sunday, intoxicated and without money, and hassled people around him, the Smoking Gun reported. He refused to leave when asked, according to a Lakewood-Busti Police Department incident report. Authorities charged Chase with trespassing and issued an appearance ticket.

He'd already been kicked out of a bar up the road from Applebee's for making gun gestures toward the bartender earlier that night, according to WIVB.

"People get a little uptight and nervous," bar owner Tim Ruch told WIVB, "You don't see this everyday." Chase has shown up in his establishment dressed up like the Joker before, Ruch said.

The 24-year-old was taken to WCA Hospital for a psychiatric evaluation, according to the Jamestown Post Journal. "We take any call of this nature very seriously," said Sgt. Paul Gustafson of LBPD told the paper, "especially in a situation where a person dresses up in this manner."

In light of last summer's Aurora, Col. movie theater shooting -- where James Holmes, hair painted red, allegedly cried "I am the Joker" before allegedly opening fire and killing 12 people -- Lakewood police officials told the Buffalo News that they are treating instances like Chase's extremely seriously.


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