Man Goes Crazy, Gets Tasered After Store Refuses To Let Him Use Bathroom

Village Lighting in Bellingham, Washington refused to let a 29-year-old man use their bathroom, and the man retaliated by going completely batshit insane on them.

The man, who was reportedly not a customer, grabbed a 3-foot copper lighting fixture weighing about 10 pounds and began smashing cardboard boxes that contained merchandise on Friday, May 15, said Mark Young, spokesman for the Bellingham Police Department.

The man held the lighting fixture above his head and moved toward an employee in a threatening manner, Young said. The employee got out of the way, and the man left the store

The police found him nearby with a box cutter in his pocket and feces on his shoe, although they don’t specify if it was his own feces or some miscellaneous street feces. He was Tasered, then booked into jail “on suspicion of second-degree assault, third-degree theft [he left with the lighting fixture -Ed.] and malicious mischief.”

Washington just passed a law that requires stores to let customers use the bathroom under certain circumstances, but it doesn’t go into effect until July 26th. If only he’d been able to hold it until then. And been willing to buy that lighting fixture.

“Man arrested in vandalism of Bellingham store” [Bellingham Herald] (Thanks to Ryan!)
(Photo: scriptingnews)


Edit Your Comment

  1. Radi0logy says:

    “they don’t specify if it was his own feces or some miscellaneous street feces”


  2. sanjsrik says:

    does it matter if it was his or someone else’s? i questioned that as well. Were they trying to imply that he smeared his poop on his shoe and that’s just weird?

    • DrGirlfriend says:

      @sanjsrik: If it’s his own I would imagine that makes him even crazier and implies that the feces was self-inflicted. Street feces at least leaves the option open that he accidentally stepped on it.

      I can’t believe I’m analyzing this.

      • dorianh49 says:

        @DrGirlfriend: Well, you’re (presumably) a doctor and/or a girlfriend. (Over)Analyzing is in your nature. Go with it.

        • trujunglist says:


          oh my god that was hilarious… i’m eating soup and it was *this* close to exploding my skull.

          I wonder if you can sue for that

          • dorianh49 says:

            @trujunglist: Uh, sue me or the soup company? Or, do you make your own soup (from ingredients you grow in your own greenhouse made from glass that you made with your own sand made from rocks that you quarried in your own… OK, I’m shutting up now)?

    • Trai_Dep says:

      @sanjsrik: Seems to me that it’s time for the CSI crew to perform a taste test.

    • Robobot says:

      @sanjsrik: Not to get all TMI, but I’m under the impression that perhaps he had a major #2 emergency and, after they denied him access to a bathroom, it dribbled down his leg and onto/into his shoe. Mmmmm, squishy.

    • Julia789 says:

      @sanjsrik: Perhaps it insinuates that he really DID have to go badly enough to drive him insane. When he left the store he ran behind a bush, pooped, and got it on his shoe before being caught by police.

      Maybe he was crazy to begin with. Or maybe he just had one of those really bad cases of burning diarrhea. That will make any person temporarily insane.

    • Antediluvian says:

      @sanjsrik: Well, like I said above, you can’t really dust for feces.

    • says:

      @sanjsrik: people who read the article wouldve asked…so the reporter just answered the question…

  3. VonGeist says:

    Quick hint: next time let him use the bathroom…

    • Julia789 says:

      @VonGeist: Not to take sides, but in some cases, there is one bathroom way in the backroom behind shelves of stored merchandise and back offices. If a person off the street goes back there, on their way to or from the bathroom they could steal merchandise, cash, or blank checks from the office, etc.

      I suppose an employee could escort the person back there, but what if one employee is working alone, and is not comfortable escorting a strange man into the back room of the store? It would also leave the front of the store unguarded to shoplifters, or someone trying to get into the cash register.

      • Drew5764 says:

        @Julia789: Then how do you propose actually selling any of the merchandise you’ve placed in the back of the store? Hope the person “buying” it doesn’t just take it and leave while you’re retrieving it? If you run that type of business and only have 1 person working at a time, you’re asking for trouble.

        • Julia789 says:

          @Drew5764: I’m not saying it’s a proper way to run a business, having one person at a time working. Just that there area number of different reasons it is feasible to not want strangers walking through your storage room or back office. The bathrooms in small stores like that often are intended for employees only.

          I have known a few people who have worked in small shops. They are sometimes the only one there, at least while the other person goes on their lunch hour or break.

          My friend worked in a small jewelry shop. People would sometimes ask to use the bathroom. The back room they had to pass through to get to the bathroom was the work area where they did jewelry repair. She could not risk someone grabbing a watch or necklace off the work area as they shuffled through the narrow back room to the bathroom. Nor would they want to let people know the layout of the back room and where the jewelry being repaired was kept and stored, or where the safe was and what type of safe it was. Someone might want to get back there to see the back exit/emergency exit and plan a future break-in through the back.

          While this is far different than a lighting store, it still highlights a number of valid reasons you wouldn’t want people going through your back room. The safe, the inventory, back exits, what type of alarm is on the back door, what type and kind of merchandise is stored in the back room.

          Employees sometimes keep their personal items in the back rooms. Employee’s purses could be stolen while a customer goes back there to use the bathroom. Heck I remember one time I asked to use a bathroom at a local store. They said they didn’t allow people to do that, but since I’d been shopping there for years and they knew me, it was OK. They took me down a maze of storage rooms and up some narrow stairs to the ladies bathroom. I was surprised when I went in there, it also had shelves and coat hooks where the three female employees kept their purses and hung their jackets up while they were working. If someone that wasn’t so nice used that bathroom, they could have picked the wallets.

          Some types of stores have bathrooms for customers that are accessible from the retail floor, some do not. If they don’t and their bathroom is way in the back, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to say “Sorry, our bathroom is for employees only.”

    • says:

      @VonGeist: its a store, not a restaurant…the bathrooms in a store are more for people working there…where i live no one would ever ask to use a bathroom in a non food selling place, cause its a common tactic for crooks…

  4. Cupajo says:

    “miscellaneous street feces” would be a good rock band name

    • dorianh49 says:

      @Cupajo: Thanks, Dave :)

    • Anonymous says:

      @Cupajo: I work at Village Lighting so if you have any questions email. This story has snow balled and kind of turned in to the telephone game. The man was homeless and he came in back of the store in the warehouse because we were closed. He had feces not only on his shoe but on his clothes as well at that point, when the warehouse manager said he could not use the restroom he picked up a ceiling fan downrod (liek a 3′ pipe not a fixture) he did come towards him threateningly and walk off with the pipe. I think he may have stolen the box cutter as well because we have one missing. Nice free advertising though visit our website

  5. jsbeagle says:

    I wonder if there is an established definition of “customer” that goes along with that law? Do you have to purchase something to be considered as such?

    Not that it would have mattered in this case.

    • dave_coder says:

      @jsbeagle: I hope so. I certainly would not want random people coming and and crapping all over my washroom.

      A customer usually equals someone who buys something. It does not equal the general public.

      • Drew5764 says:

        @dave_coder: Have you ever shopped for lighting? You don’t always purchase something, yet you’re still a potential customer.

        What about if you’re looking for art? You can’t use the bathroom because the art they have sucks and you don’t want any??? That doesn’t seem logical.

    • sburnap42 says:

      @jsbeagle: I would be good money that “not a customer” == “a street person”

  6. Shoelace says:

    It’s hard to wipe yourself up with a lighting fixture.

  7. sanjsrik says:

    um, the headline reads that he was tasered, yet, that was not mentioned in the story,


    How was he tasered?

    damn, shoddy reporting.

  8. thebigbluecheez says:

    No, No, BAD CONSUMER! Drop it… Drrrrop IT!

  9. sanjsrik says:

    Yesterday my 5-year-old and I were in the Rite Aid, asked the manager if she could use the bahroom, and he said, “no, it’s for customers only” I guess the shopping basket full of merchandise didn’t make me a customer just a really insincere browser.

    • squidbait says:

      @sanjsrik: That is nonsense. All stores need to have a clear policy that anyone inside the store is a “customer” and entitled to use the bathroom. It boils down to a basic public health issue.

      You should have said. “HURRRR, I was a customer, but now I’m not.” and dropped the basket on his foot.

      • korybing says:

        @squidbait: I think the policy should be more like “Anyone inside the store with clear intent on purchasing merchandise” should be considered a “customer”. When I worked in a print shop (it was small, i was the only employee) we had homeless people come in and demand to use our bathroom daily, and the only thing that saved me in those situations was that I could say “sorry, that is for customers only”.

    • samurailynn says:

      @sanjsrik: It sounds like the problem was that he didn’t believe your daughter was actually purchasing anything – she was just browsing while you were shopping.

      • trujunglist says:


        Sounds to me like the real problem is that the manager is not only a goddamn asshole for not letting a little girl use the bathroom in the first place customer or not, but also a goddamn moron for not realizing that she was actually a customer.

    • Antediluvian says:

      @sanjsrik: I had a discussion with a store manager about who is a customer during a grand opening event. The store was giving out swag to the first 100 customers. I had bought some stuff from them a day or so before (pre-grand opening), but was in a hurry and so just glanced around. They offered me coffee and donuts, but they said “no swag for you without a purchase today.” The flyer specified “free swag to the first 100 customers.”

      Consumeristas: What’s your opinion on my situation? Was I a “customer” or not? Should they have given me a swag? (I think they should have, from a business-sense view, but I’m biased towards myself.)

      I await your judgement.

  10. Anathema777 says:

    If he was threatening employees and they were getting out of his way, why didn;t he just use the bathroom? No one was going to stop the nutcase with the light fixture at that point. I mean, he’d still be charged, but he wouldn’t have to explain that embarassing feces in his shoes.

  11. katiat325 says:

    ah, that’s why businesses here just flat our refuse to let crackheads in…

  12. sir_eccles says:


    People may hate their ubiquity but having one on every corner is rather convenient and I have yet to find one that ever cares if you buy anything.

    • chiieddy says:

      @sir_eccles: Or McDonalds, Dunkin Donuts or any fast food place. Only way you’ll see me in one :)

      Actually, if I’m around the city, I’ll go to a hotel for the rest room. Most (not all, I wouldn’t try a Days Inn) hotels have function rooms with public restrooms.

      PS The Four Seasons in Boston has the nicest restroom in town. :)

      • theblackdog says:

        @chiieddy: Unless you walk into a hotel where they say the bathroom is for “guests and bar patrons only” and they do have a security guard that checks to see if you have a receipt from the hotel.

        I wish I could remember the name of it, but it’s in DC, around 23 and P street.

    • says:

      @sir_eccles: where i live even fast food joints have buzzers for paying customers to get in… i think we gotta get pay toilets…these days asking to use a stores bathroom is more a tactic for crooks to steal stuff…

  13. squidbait says:

    I want more details! The reporter has a phone # at the end of the article, I’m thinking about calling her to ask ;)

    Sounds like he asked to use the bathroom, got denied, flipped out, grabbed the fixture, threatened people (HULK POOP NOW!) and left the store to go crap outside. While shitting, they call the cops about the theft and when they show up, the guy goes off on them.

    All in all, WORST DAY EVER for the poor guy..

  14. s35flyer says:

    I dont blame them, he’s lucky he only got tasered what an idiot.

  15. dave_coder says:

    Wow. Talk about not being reasonable. He doesn’t buy anything, wants to crap in their toilet, and when they refuse he blows up.

  16. downwithmonstercable says:

    Batshit is the best description for crazy I think. This article made me laugh. I especially loved the miscellanous street feces bit!

  17. ThinkerTDM says:

    I think he probably stepped in the poo. I mean, it just wasn’t his day, was it? He should’ve just stayed in bed.

  18. processfive says:

    Dibs on “Street Feces” as a band and/or album name.

  19. Gokuhouse says:

    The store was being a douche for the maximum amount of time they could be, simple as that.

  20. LostTurntable says:

    I have…let’s just say “bathroom issues” and I occasionally find myself in a real emergency for a restroom. This is a typical conversation I have at gas stations:

    Me: I need to use your restroom, I’ll buy something afterward but it’s an emergency.

    Clerk: Restrooms are for customers only.

    Me: Either let me use the restroom or you’ll have to clean shit up off of the floor.

    Clerk: Restroom is in the back to your right.

    You gotta commit to it, unbuckle your belt.

  21. kbarrett says:

    “miscellaneous street feces” might also be a good name for a blog.

    • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

      @kbarrett: it could be the new subtitle for…. oh wait, you guys aren’t still officially related to gawker anymore, right?

  22. LordofthePing says:

    The poop is the most interesting part of this story. Unfortunately, there’s really no way of knowing whether it was his own or just your regular sidewalk turdling. It’s most probable that it was his own, and that he is either a messy wiper, or squatted in the grass and let loose on his shoes, or he allowed the mudslide to run down the inside of his pants.

  23. Truthie says:


    BTW, this line is priceless: “police found him nearby with a box cutter in his pocket and feces on his shoe”

  24. Joey_Brill says:

    “police found him nearby with a box cutter in his pocket and feces on his shoe”

    Alanis Morissette is slamming her head against a brick wall over that missed lyric.

  25. Lee Meade says:

    Next time bring a doctor’s note. Or pretend you have a medical condition. That way if the store refuses, threaten a lawsuit for medical and/or emotional damages

  26. Duckula22 says:

    So… are they changing their name to Village Lightning now?

  27. ephdel says:

    “just gotta…..hold out for…a few more months…GAH!”

  28. Alex Mitchell says:

    Doesn’t surprise me at all. Bellingham has a lot of transient mentally ill people. My girlfriend waitress at a place not too far away and they have soiled transients in there all the time asking to use their washrooms.

  29. Null.Aleph says:

    Unless there is a local ordinance saying otherwise, stores cannot restrict usage of their public restrooms due to adopted Plumbing Codes. If they do threaten to call the state code agency.