On a Tuesday morning just before 6 a.m. all was quiet at the Kwik Trip, a 24-hour convenience store in Mashfield, Wisconsin. Then, a customer meandering past the beer aisle caught sight of something unusual. The shopper doubled back and peered into the cooler. Sure enough, there was a 38-year-old man in there, teeth chattering in the 32-degree walk-in beer cave. Scattered on the floor around him were a few cans of empty Four Lokos, plus several knocked over cases of Busch.
The customer alerted the staff, who opened the door to let the man out. Without a word, he charged straight to the door and kept running.
Jeremy J. Van Ert's Side of the Story
The mysterious man is a 38-year-old named Jeremy J. Van Ert. He told police officers that he had walked into the cooler at midnight when the doors locked behind him. Instead of banging on the glass or waving for help, Jeremy decided to make the most of the situation.
In the six hours he'd been locked in the freezer, Jeremy consumed one 18-ounce Icehouse beer and three cans of Four Loko. He'd also somehow managed to knock over and shatter three 30-packs of Busch beer.
It was a strange case--even the cops thought so.
"We never had somebody accidentally locked in a place and not make any attempt to be rescued or get out because they're satisfied with the circumstances," Marshfield Police Chief Rick Gramza told reporters from Chicago Tribune.
Since he fled the premises without paying for all the booze he drank and beer bottles he broke, Van Ert was charged with retail theft. Because Van Ert was already on probation for prior criminal charges, he was shipped off to Wood County Jail for breaking probationary terms by committing theft and drinking alcohol.
Even though cops and employees were befuddled, Twitter users had some theories on why Van Ert might have stayed in the cooler:
I mean...we all would have done the same
-- Seth Duin (@SethDuin) October 27, 2017
peak "when in Rome" defined
-- Brady Carlson (@BradyCarlson) October 26, 2017