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Munchies

'Suspicious Object' Shuts Down Chicago Street, Turns Out to be a Chef Boyardee Can on Wheels

We stan the almost-sentient can of ravioli.

by Jelisa Castrodale
May 1 2019, 4:23pm

Everyone who spent the early 2000s living on a steady diet of Drake & Josh and Rugrats reruns knows that Chef Boyardee commercial, the one where the kid’s mom asks her what she wants for dinner, then tells her she can’t have the can of Chef Boyardee ravioli that she’s about to drop into the shopping cart. “Not tonight, Sweetie. You’ve had Chef every night this week,” her mom, an icy-hearted, J. Jill-wearing, Midwestern Lannister type tells her, putting it back on the shelf.

Buuut when the accordion kicks in, that now-sentient can of Beef Ravioli yeets itself onto the floor, rolls out of the supermarket, down a five-lane highway, through some residential neighborhoods, and ultimately into the kid’s well-carpeted living room.

When Leo Burnett, the Chicago-based ad agency, makes a can of microwavable pasta roll itself into traffic, it’s sentimental and adorable. But when a student at DePaul University does pretty much the same thing, the Chicago Police Department shows up, closes the street, and suspends service on the Red Line.

On Tuesday afternoon, Eric Tendian tweeted a picture of what looked like a slightly dented can of Chef Boyardee ravioli taped to a set of skateboard wheels and decorated with a Sharpied-on face. “Suspicious package at 247 S State. Street and pedestrian traffic now blocked off,” he wrote, hashtagging it #ChicagoScanner.

WBBM Newsradio confirmed that a student from DePaul placed this mobile boi—a project for a design class—in the middle of the street so that he could take a picture of it. “He put it down. He ran upstairs, I think, to go observe it,” another student told the station. “And the cops came. I think there was like ten cops here at one point. And they were questioning him, over a can of ravioli. It looked like a toy. I thought it was like a car."

When officers arrived, they closed the 200 block of State Street to vehicular traffic and to pedestrians, and they also temporarily stopped service on the Red Line of the subway from running, since those trains pass directly underneath the area. A police department spokesperson told Block Club Chicago that officers decided to shut everything down out of “an abundance of caution.” (It may or may not be worth noting that this entire silly incident took place less than a mile from Leo Burnett’s offices.)

“[At] approximately 12:00 noon, Officers observed a suspicious object in the street on the 200 block of South State Street. Out of an abundance of caution, Officers blocked traffic in the area and shut down operations on the CTA Red Line,” a Chicago Police Department spokesperson told MUNCHIES in a statement. “After an investigation of the object and speaking to witnesses, the object was cleared and all traffic and train operations returned to normal. An individual was detained related to the object and Officers are currently questioning that individual.”

The cops said that the unnamed 19-year-old male was ticketed for disorderly conduct and breach of peace. His court date has been set for June 10.

“Hoping the person who created the Chef Boyardee can on wheels that shut down State Street is having an amazing day and goes on to have a great rest of the week,” one woman tweeted after the incident. Anyone else suddenly hungry for some canned ravioli?