Watch CBS News

Go Bananas In Norridge Tightens Security After Violent Fight Video

CHICAGO (CBS)--It's been about six months since social media exploded with a video of a violent fight that broke out during a children's party at Norridge indoor amusement center, Go Bananas.

The video captured a disturbing scene: two women hitting each other and large objects being tossed around inside the amusement park.

Buzzing with kids, balloons, games and rides, on the surface Go Bananas looks a lot like any other family fun center.

But violent incidents have been happening at the business on the 4500 block of Harlem Avenue since at least 2015, according to police records. Most of the police calls involve battery, theft, attempted use of counterfeit currency and fighting, records show.

Eight years ago, Go Bananas made national headlines when a 3-year-old child was killed after slipping out of an amusement ride.

The video of the fight that broke out inside the business last summer made rounds on social media, garnering even more negative attention for Go Bananas.

But despite years of problems at the business, Village of Norridge officials gave Go Bananas owner Jerrold Marks an opportunity to turn things around.

When he went before the village board following the recent incident, Marks promised to "create a customer code of conduct to inform customers what's expected of them, and to post the notice in multiple locations inside the building.

Since his appearance at village hall, Marks has fulfilled his promise. A prohibition on "physical conflicts such as pushing or fighting" is now posted on the front doors.

Norridge officials also asked Marks to hire security guards to patrol the business at all hours.

Marks said he spent about $20,000 on surveillance cameras that are now installed inside Go Bananas and outside in the parking lot.

"The situations could've been toned down if the employees were trained properly," said Frank Coconate, a former security guard at Go Bananas. "There were arguments and fighting that we were told to keep down and keep police out of it."

Despite the new code of conduct and the apparent increase in security measures, Norridge police have responded to Go Bananas at least eight times since the video of the fight went viral last summer.

Police records show one of the calls officers responded to was for women arguing with security guards. Other calls were minor, according to records.

Norridge Mayor James Chmura said he's confident Marks is doing his best to comply with village officials' demands for better security.

Cleanliness seems to be another issue, however.

Coconate snapped a picture showing gum plastered on the floors.

"There's little babies walking on the rugs, rolling, you know, their mouth is touching the rugs," Coconate said.

Inspection records from Norridge show violations related to "entire carpeting," gum under tables, and "mold build-up" in August.

Marks says he's "constantly cleaning," in addition to adhering to all of the village's requests since his business license was in jeopardy.

A petition to shut down Go Bananas circulated after the video of the fight surfaced last year, but the business remains a popular destination for families.

Thousands of Groupons for the business have been sold recently, and the business has a 4.2-star rating out of five.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.