Of all the places one would expect to see IRS, FBI and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents storming through the doors, an IHOP in Ohio. That’s why it’s even more bizarre to hear that very thing went down today inside at least seven IHOPs.
According to the Toledo Blade, four of the raided IHOPs were in the Toledo area. While authorities couldn’t share details with the paper on what the raids are looking for, it is believed that no one has been arrested. Reporters spotted federal agents and local sheriff’s deputies removing “white, office-style boxes” and placing them into unmarked vehicles.
Some detail from employees who came to work this morning, only to find federal agents waiting where hungry diners would normally be:
[An] assistant manager of the restaurant, said agents with badges and guns arrived shortly after 6 a.m. He said the agents told him to stay still and allow them to search the place and gave no details on why they were searching the restaurant. After taking out boxes, the agents left about 10:30 a.m.
[Another man] who also works at the IHOP on West Central, said he was ordered immediately to put his hands up in the air when he reported for work Tuesday morning.
“I walked through the door and I thought I was going downtown,” he said.
The employees said there were no customers in the restaurant while the search was conducted.
One pair of pancake-hungry patrons were turned away by police officers. “He said all IHOPs were closed,” one of them tells the Blade.
UPDATE: A rep for IHOP released the following statement Consumerist:
We were informed today by one of our franchisees about the events at his restaurants in OH and IN.
We are working to gather the facts and have been in touch with the federal authorities, although we have not been briefed on the matter.
We are cooperating fully with the authorities as we seek to gain an understanding of this situation.
Agents raid 7 IHOP restaurants, 6 in Ohio [ToledoBlade.com]
Thanks to P.J. for the tip!