More bed bug claims at Norfolk movie theater

Claims prompt health department manager to inspect

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Norfolk Health Department’s Interim Environmental Health Manager Harry Bennet will personally visit Cinemark at Military Circle Mall on Thursday to inspect for any pest problems.

Bennett said the department has only received two formal complaints about pests, or possible bed bugs, at the movie theater, since August. However, there were other reports to the health department, as reported in July.

The most recent report about a problem at the Military Circle Mall movie theater was on Monday. Jackie Spratley said she saw “No Good Deed” in theater two last Friday.

“[The itching] started on my finger and then it was on my neck, both sides and my back,” Spratley said.

Spratley said she got a good look at her arm during the movie and saw what she believes was a bed bug. She said she’s familiar with what the bed bugs look like because of the field she works in.

Spratley talked to the theater manager, explaining to him which theater she was sitting in and that she was in the back row against the wall. Then Spratley found where her neck and shoulders had turned red from the bites. She called Norfolk’s Public Health Department and formally complained.

“We had the inspector go out today and investigate the [complaint] we had come in on Monday,” Bennett said.

Bennett said the inspector didn’t find any pests during the visit. And while not everyone reports a pest problem to the health department, Bennett said the alleged pest problem keeps coming back. He told he will go to the movie theater himself on Thursday.

“A second set of eyes might pick up something that a first set of eyes didn’t,” he said.

Bennett said theater managers are having Terminix come out to treat theater two, where Spratley saw the movie Friday. Currently, the back rows are closed off to patrons. Bennett will make any additional recommendations that could stop whatever is leaving people red and itchy.

“We’ll tell them what we think based on what we see,” he said.

The health department can’t take any drastic action with the theater because it does not have any authority over the theater rooms. The health department only monitors the concession area. Treating and making sure the problem is addressed is up to Cinemark.

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