NORFOLK, Virginia –
Gary Bonner, 47, is under arrest this afternoon for charges of arson, after police say he set fire to a local restaurant after an altercation with a waitress over a drink order. According to police, Bonner has already admitted to setting the blaze.
Police reports say Bonner, who ate lunch at the Millstone Cafe every Friday afternoon, went in as normal yesterday around 3PM, but unfortunately for the restaurant employees and other patrons who were dining, something about the Cafe had changed.
“For the past 3 years or so, Mr. Bonner has been coming in here, and always orders the same thing: Turkey club on whole wheat with no mayo and an extra slice of cheese, and a large fountain Pepsi,” said Amy Fray, a server at the Cafe. “Unfortunately though, during this past week we had switched from Pepsi to Coca-Cola, because they had cheaper syrup. Anyway, it didn’t even dawn on me that when Mr. Bonner ordered his Pepsi that I should have told him that’s not what we carried anymore, and that it would be a Coke instead.”
During the week, installers from Coca-Cola had come in and replaced all the equipment in the restaurant and provided their products, but the Cafe had not had a chance to remove Pepsi cola signs, or to amend the menus to show Coke products in place of Pepsi.
“So Mr. Bonner came in, and ordered his usual, and when I gave it to him, I had only walked away a couple of feet when I heard a kind of spraying noise,” said Fray. “I turned around, and he was spitting the soda out of his mouth, like he was choking on it. I asked him what was wrong, and he said ‘I ordered a Pepsi, damn it!’ I told him it was a Pepsi, only because I didn’t want to start a scene, but I agreed to grab him a fresh one. I told him maybe there was something wrong with the fountain and apologized. When I gave him the second drink, he immediately exploded in anger.”
Fray says that it was at that point she explained that they no longer served Pepsi products, and that she had forgotten to tell him when he ordered. Bonner then reportedly stood up, violently flipped his table over, and stormed out of the restaurant. Minutes later, employees began smelling smoke, and the restaurant was evacuated for a fire. Within an hour, the entire restaurant had burned to the ground.
Bonner curiously stayed around the entire time as the restaurant was burning, later admitting that he had set the fire out of anger over receiving the wrong drink. He was immediately arrested for arson and reckless endangerment, as well as possible attempted murder charges, as he knew the restaurant was full when he set the blaze. Bonner said that although he is aware he may be spending many years in jail, he is planning a countersuit over the ‘false advertising’ of the Cafe.
“They still had their Pepsi signs everywhere, yet they gave me a Coke. Don’t they realize they could have killed me? They’ll be seeing me in court as soon as they’re done seeing me in court, if you know what I mean,” said Bonner. His trial date is still pending.