Rats Run Wild Inside Greenwich Village KFC Slideshow: Rat Invasion At KFC SLIDESHOW OF THE DAY: Celebrities Killed By Drugs SEE ALSO: Celebrities Real Names Revealed Deborah Garcia
Reporting (CBS) NEW YORK
They're fat, furry, dirty and very busy searching for a midnight snack inside a KFC/Taco Bell restaurant in Greenwich Village, and on the street.
"They are not afraid at all of people," Margo McGuire said. "They own this sidewalk, it would seem."
Caught on CBS 2 cameras early Friday morning were over a dozen rats scurrying across the tile floor, leaping between chairs and onto the same tables customers eat on.
One was even perched on the ATM right by the front door.
"I've seen a lot of disgusting rats in the KFC. I love to eat at KFC, but this is disgusting," Tameeka St. Jean said.
According to people at the scene, the popular restaurant at Sixth Avenue and West 4th Street was open until 11 p.m. Thursday night. Others told CBS 2 that the problem has been going on for weeks.
"It's disgusting, and I am so glad you all are here to do something about it," neighbor Susan Quimbyn said. "Obviously things fall through the cracks. I'd like to interview the employees to see if they are aware of the situation."
Added Eddie Rue, a now former customer: "I will never eat in there again. Definitely lost me as a customer."
And countless more are sure to bail now that the city's Health Department inspected the premises and shut it down until its violations are corrected.
"The infestation is in the restaurant," Health Department inspector Carol Feracho said. "However, based on the inspection, it is coming from the building. There are a number of openings in the building that constitute entry."
CBS 2's amazing video shows rats running, playing and eating leftovers off the floor of the restaurant. However, rat infestations are not a new problem for this KFC. Just last December, the city's Health Department cited this KFC for evidence of "live rats present in the facility's food and non food areas."
The franchise was also cited for rats on at least three previous occasions by the Department of Health since 2004.
But according to the Health Dept. Web site, the rat problems had been addressed. This was clearly not the case from what CBS 2 cameras caught Friday morning.
Rick Maynard of KFC/Taco Bell issued a statement Friday, saying: "This is completely unacceptable and is an absolute violation of our high standards. This restaurant has been closed and we are addressing the issue with the franchise owner. We will not allow this store to re-open until it is completely re-sanitized and given a clean bill of health. We want to reassure customers that this is an isolated incident at the Greenwich TB/KFC at 331 6th Avenue."
Marcus Bonner said he used to work at this chain and would often see rodents coming inside.
"That's where the rats come from, there's a hole in the back where the garbage is," Bonner said. "There's a hole about three-to-four inches wide. So easy they just walk through. They don't have to squeeze through.
"I quit because it was nasty. They don't use gloves to make the food. They use the same grease day after day after day. At night, the manager told me to put the chairs up. We don't sweep; we don't mop. So that's what the rats are eating off, the stuff that's left on the floors."
McGuire lives next door and said the carelessly dumped garbage from the restaurant attracts rats onto the whole block.
"That chicken puts the weight on them," McGuire said. "The bags, the garbage is always piled up there. And you can actually hear critters in there."