Police: 22 North High students leave IHOP without paying for meals

08/15/2012 5:00 AM

08/16/2012 6:09 AM

Alex Abou said Wednesday that he has seen many large groups of high school students descend on the IHOP near Maple and Ridge Road before.

But what happened early Tuesday morning was something new.

About 100 Wichita North High students converged on the IHOP for breakfast at about 5 a.m., following the traditional campout for seniors at the school’s campus near 13th and Waco.

“They were uncontrollable,” said Abou, a manager at IHOP at 515 S. Ridge Road. “Absolutely nobody was in control of them.”

They all ate at the same time and tried to leave at the same time, Abou said. That made for a large crowd trying to pay for breakfast all at once.

Many simply didn’t pay before leaving, Abou said.

A police report states 22 North High students didn’t pay before leaving, and Lt. Doug Nolte said the students could face criminal charges as a result.

The store has video of the group, and staff have told police they can identify the 22 who did not pay.

Abou said he has heard from some parents in the wake of the incident who have said their children will return and pay for their meals. The combined value of the unpaid meals is $213, Abou said.

District officials learned of the incident Wednesday.

“The school will look into this as well,” USD 259 spokeswoman Susan Arensman said of what happened at IHOP. “Obviously, this was not a school-sanctioned event.”

North High officials may decide to take disciplinary action against the students who didn’t pay for their meals, she said.

Abou said the business welcomes groups of students and there haven’t been problems in the past. IHOP even tries to set aside space for groups so they can be together, he said.

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