Haunted Catacombs to add more security following ruckus Saturday

Cheektowaga Police patrol the Haunted Catacombs parking lot on September 22nd after several hundred unsupervised adolescents caused a disturbance.  (Jim Herr/Cheektowaga Chronicle)
Cheektowaga Police patrol the Haunted Catacombs parking lot on September 22nd after several hundred unsupervised adolescents caused a disturbance.  (Jim Herr/Cheektowaga Chronicle)

CHEEKTOWAGA – The House of Horrors and Haunted Catacombs seasonal scare attraction will be adding more professional security personnel to its payroll after several hundred adolescents caused trouble in surrounding parking lots Saturday night.

Guests from the haunted house which is located in the old Dick’s Plaza at 3637 Union Road taxed Cheektowaga Police resources for a good hour-and-a-half around 10 pm after an estimated 200 unsupervised teenagers loitered in the surrounding parking lots and inside the Sonic restaurant sparking off verbal arguments and physical altercations. 

At least two people were arrested at the plaza for Disorderly Conduct, and around 30 teens had to be ejected from the nearby Pizza Hut after they were “tearing it up” according to Cheektowaga Police records.

Cheektowaga Chronicle spoke to the manager of the haunted house Saturday night.

“We never really have this issue.  This is probably the first time I’ve seen it like this, and a lot of the time, these guys like to have a meetup location, where they meet up to have their big fights every weekend, and this just may have been that meet up location,” said Chris Conlon.  “The Cheektowaga cops are doing an awesome job here, and our sheriffs did a great job.”

Security inside the haunted house has historically been handled by off-duty Erie County Sheriff’s Deputies, and incidents inside the venue are very rare according to Mr. Conlon. 

The surrounding parking lots have gone unpatrolled however allowing them to be a free for all for the unsupervised teens until town police officers show up.  Cheektowaga Police responded to the plaza at least once last year to handle the same problem towards the end of October.

A Cheektowaga Police Department source with knowledge of the issue says the department met with management of the haunted house this week.  Cheektowaga Chronicle is told that the venue is very cooperative and is planning to add additional security measures – including the hiring of off-duty Cheektowaga Police officers which should help to curb any naturally occurring disorderly conduct.

The added security will be employed on the weekends.  Sonic and Teds restaurants will also add extra security. 

It is believed that special pricing during the haunt’s first full weekend of operation contributed to the problem and the attendee numbers may not be as large from this point on.

The haunted house is open weekends in October from 7 pm – 12 am.

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