Hostages freed after contacting police on Pizza Hut app

6 May 2015

A Florida hostage recently persuaded her captor to let her order a pizza on a smartphone, which allowed her to seek help in the comments section of the Pizza Hut app.

The captor, thinking his victim merely had ordered a small classic pizza with pepperoni and free garlic bread, soon got quite the shock when the police arrived and freed the lady and her two children.

In the comments section that prompts you after you have gone through your order on the app, the woman wrote: “Please help. Get 911 to me”, which staff at Pizza Hut spotted and reacted to accordingly.

“We’ve never seen that before,” the restaurant’s manager, Candy Hamilton, said to WFLA. “I’ve been here 28 years and never, never seen nothing like that come through.”

The police talked the captor down after a few minutes and freed Cheryl Treadway and her children.

Pizza Hut order receipt

The comments section just above the order allowed the hostage to seek help, and again within the order. Via WFLA

The man arrested was Ethan Nickerson, the woman’s partner. They had been arguing throughout the day, according to the Highlands County Sherriff’s Office.

When Treadway tried leaving the home to collect her kids, Nickerson took her cell phone and accompanied her to get them.

“Upon returning home, Ms. Treadway eventually convinced Mr. Nickerson to let her use the cell phone to order a pizza [after which he] immediately took the cell phone back from her,” reads the report.

Chief Deputy Mark Schrader lauded Treadway’s quick thinking, but hats off to the Pizza Hut staff, too, for playing ball.

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic