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Food by VICE

Guy Holds Up Popeyes at Gunpoint for Sold-Out Chicken Sandwich

A group of three men and two women tried to force their way into a Popeyes restaurant in Houston, demanding the highly coveted sandwich.

by Jelisa Castrodale
Sep 3 2019, 7:12pm

Photo by Hilary Pollack

Last Tuesday, Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen managed to ruin everyone's lives by tweeting a seven-word declarative sentence: "Unfortunately, we're sold out (for now)." Yeah, that sandwich slaps so hard that it's out-of-stock everywhere until further notice. The next day, it promised that The Sandwich would be back in its restaurants "as soon as possible" and suggested that we should all download its app so we'd know exactly when we should start lining up to collectively overwhelm its employees.

But apparently a group of three men and two women weren't cool with waiting for push notifications, and they tried to force their way into a Popeyes restaurant in Houston, demanding The Sandwich immediately. (A baby was also tangentially involved, but he or she remained in the car.)

According to ABC7, the group of five started in the drive-thru line, and a Popeyes worker had to gently break the news that The Sandwich was unavailable. That was apparently the wrong answer, so they allegedly parked their vehicle and they tried to force their way into the restaurant. One of the men took a handgun to the door with him, but the employees were able to keep the group out; fortunately, no shots were fired, and no injuries were reported.

"When the manager told them they were out, one of the males became upset and pulled a pistol and demanded a chicken sandwich. The manager again informed them they were out of sandwiches," Lt. Larry Crowson of the Houston Police Department told the Associated Press.

In an interview with ABC13, Crowson said that he would categorize the incident as an aggravated assault "because he was displaying a weapon and threatened employees." None of the suspects have been apprehended as of this writing, and the gunman was described as "having small dreadlocks" and facial tattoos. The group got back into their blue SUV and fled the scene. (VICE has reached out to the Houston Police Department for comment.)

During an appearance on CNN's New Day, Jose Cil, the CEO of Popeyes parent company Restaurant Brands International, said that the sandwich was tested in the Houston market almost 10 months ago before rolling out to the rest of the country in August. "I think we missed one thing," he said, of their efforts to get the Sandwich launch right. "We didn't expect to break the internet, and we had the entire nation really excited about the Popeyes chicken sandwich. And as a result, we ran out much sooner than we anticipated."

Cil also noted that the chaos surrounding The Sandwich led to the temporary closure of a Popeyes in Henderson, Nevada. "[The city of] Henderson is telling us that we're going to be fined a lot of money if we don't close down,” regional manager Bill Vickers told KVVU. “We need to have security out here. The neighbors, Wendy's, are complaining about the disturbance, cars lining all the way up through their properties. So we're going to have to shut down." (Wendy's apparently has no qualms about snitching on its chicken-sandwich competitor.)

After the Houston Police Department tweeted about its own potentially dangerous spiced-and-fried thirst trap, one person suggested that there was an alternative to committing aggravated assault. "Imagine going to jail when you could’ve just went [sic] to @ChickfilA," she wrote.

Yo, have you paid attention at all? No one can go back to Chick-fil-A. Not after this, not after The Sandwich. All that's left is to turn on the Popeyes push notifications, pack a go bag, and wait.