NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — A family claims they were bitten by bedbugs while out to see a movie in the theater at Military Circle Mall.
Lamonte White went to see Dawn of the Planet of the Apes at Cinemark Theatres. He and his daughters sat in the last row, against the carpeted wall. He felt itchy during the movie, but didn’t think much of it. When he walked out of the theater Wednesday night, he said he found bites all over his right arm.
White and his daughters went back in the movie theater, used their cell phone lights on the back row where they were sitting and saw the pests.
“Whoever was there and sitting up top, there’s a good chance that they took some home, and that’s major money getting them out of your house,” White said.
White said he had a hard time convincing the theater manager of his story, so he caught one of the bugs in a cup. After complaining about his experience, White said he didn’t feel comfortable going home or getting in his car. He feared he would bring the pests home with him.
“I tried to do what I think was needed to not take anything to the house,” White said.
White said movie theater managers paid for him and his family to go to Walmart in a cab to buy new clothes, and then the cab took them home. White still has copies of the receipts he gave to the movie theater.
“They actually paid for the cab, and they paid for the stuff at Walmart,” White said.
White said he appreciates the theater’s effort, but still has a problem with the experience. He was told the general manager at Cinemark Theatres in Norfolk would call him on Thursday, but he never received a call. When he called the box office and asked if anything was being done about the bugs, he was told movies were still playing as normal.
“If you got bedbugs, that whole theater should be closed for the day,” White said. “They need to go ahead and fumigate and do what they have to do.”
WAVY.com has checked in with a number of people on the issue. James Meredith with Cinemark Corporate said they didn’t have any reports of bedbugs in Norfolk. Meredith said he was going to look into it.
Calls to the Norfolk Public Health Department were not returned. Although, the health department website does not list any specific codes related to bedbugs.
The Travel Channel lists movie theaters as one of the top ten places for bedbug infestations — click here to see the whole list.