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Downtown Chico Jack in the Box installs bars to protect employees

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CHICO, Calif. - A Downtown Chico food chain has been forced to take action after employees were attacked on more than one occasion.

The Jack in the Box at 500 Broadway Street now has bars to separate the cashiers from their customers, a decision staff said was very necessary.

"This Jack in the Box is notorious for being crazy," said Amy Dierking, a Chico local who frequents the Downtown Jack in the Box.

Now, the metal jail-like bars are the first to greet the customers at that notorious Jack in the Box. "To go up there and you see it right away" explained Robin Colman, a customer. "It makes me back up. It makes me want to turn around and walk out."

But staff said something had to be done. People were throwing drinks, tacos, chairs and more at the undeserving employees behind the register.

"It's not that surprising because I know that a lot of people that are on drugs come to this location specifically," said Sierra Dickerson, another Chico local who frequents this Jack in the Box.

Most locals assumed it was the homeless who were responsible, but staff were adamant that it's not just them.

Attempts to reach the district manager were unsuccessful, but employees inside said this wasn't an issue with any one particular group in Chico, but rather many different citizens.

"I'm not surprised that people are throwing drinks or tacos," said Chico State student Joey Carretta. "I've seen it happen where I'm from too."

Somewhat expected, but for Larry Colman who's lived here for all of his 72 years, also disappointing."

They wouldn't even have thought about putting the bars up [back] then. People didn't do the things they do today," Larry Colman said. "Times have changed," Robin Colman agreed.

But not every fast food restaurant in town has this problem, so what is it about this location?

"There's the park right over there and there's a really large homeless population here and they specifically, a lot of them sleep over there or hang out over there," Dickerson offered as her suggestion.

So whether it's the park, the downtown party crowd, or even just the average Joe that's the source of the problems, staff said they think every downtown fast food spot in any city would have these same types of altercations.

"That's not okay because everyone deserves equal amount of respect," Carretta said. "If you want to be respected, you should respect other people."

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