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Bean Closes Again - Riot Ensues
"Deliver the caffeine or this place is goin' down"
November 18, 2003
Stewart couldn’t face the damageAfter just reopening last Thursday following two months of hurricane repairs, The Bean in Oriental closed again Monday morning when Bean proprietor Russ Stewart noticed a scratch on the new pine floor. "Clearly someone was grinding with their chair, disrespecting the facility" Stewart says, "and after all the varnishing I’ve done, nobody is gonna disrespect the facility."
At 7:06am Monday Stewart asked the early morning customers to leave. They slowly made their way out, stunned by the latest Bean closing.
Stewart would not allow anyone even to leave with coffee – confiscating the still mostly full cups.Bean customer Charlie Garrett went outside, but remained on the porch, fuming. It is believed that Garrett may have been the chair grinder.The tension in the village from the Bean being closed for two months following Hurricane Isabel was in the air, and this latest development was too much even for normally peaceful village residents.
Garrett became the ring leader – instigating caffeine-deprived villagers to riot.Bean regulars grabbed any available implement to attack the closed facility. The rioting was much more violent than typically seen in Pamlico County.Jane Tindall and two unidentified women showed their support by trying to throw a crab pot through a window. However, they were unable to throw the bulky crab pot high enough.Ken Brandon retrieved a pecan picker from his van and gave the closed coffee house a good thrashing.
In one of the more creative assaults Earl Evens took a whisker pole off a visiting yacht, and along with Bruce Goodman and Andy Polo used the pole as a medieval battering ram in a spirited attack on the Bean front door.
Meanwhile, Bob Andrews found an untied kayak to storm the building with. While Andrews made an impressive charge, he was unable to turn the corner of the handicapped ramp while still holding the 15’ craft.Before long workers poured out from Fulchers Seafood and the Oriental Marina, joining in looting The Bean. At least one looter was seen with a muffin of suspicious origin.
Stewart was inside the whole time, pleading that it would only take "two weeks" to fix the floor scratch. This did not dissuade the attackers, and Stewart managed to get a 911 call to the Oriental Police Department. Their response was swift.
Officer Jim Bunn asked the crowd to back away from The Bean, but Garrett kept the attacks underway – keeping morale up by shouting "they’re not allowed to have real bullets – just like on Andy Griffith!"
That was too much for Bunn – and he sent his men in.Outfitted mostly in white and red foul weather gear, the rioters were easy to identify for Oriental Riot Squad Police.The squad made quick work of the rioters, and Bunn brought 47 of the "worst offenders" down to Town Hall. There Town Manager Wyatt Cutler gave the group a stern warning, saying he was "very disappointed in their behavior." He sentenced the offenders to drinking a full 16 oz glass of room temperature unfiltered Oriental tap water.Russ Stewart says "now the floor is really scratched, and there is a lot of loose trim." In addition, an estimated three cups of coffee and two bagels were unaccounted for.The ruffians gave The Bean a beating – notice the missing trim above the door. Stewart couldn’t look.
Despite the horrific setback, Stewart says the Bean will reopen by June 2004. He plans to employ the same retired minister used last time to accelerate the repairs.
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