A Gas Station Prank Backfired and Radio DJ Lunchbox Ended Up in Jail

Disc jockeys are known to push the boundaries to get attention. However, one radio show may have gone too far.

Sarah Kester - Author

Jun. 14 2024, Published 8:38 a.m. ET

Disc jockeys are known to push the boundaries to get attention — just look at Howard Stern. But one radio show may have gone too far. In 2004, The Bobby Bones Show had one of their talents, Lunchbox (Dan Chappell), pretend to rob a convenience store.

The prank ended up backfiring, resulting in Lunchbox getting arrested. So why exactly did Lunchbox go to jail? Read on for the full story.

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The Bobby Bones Show is a popular radio show with several co-hosts, including Lunchbox.

When Bobby and Lunchbox were in their early 20s, Bobby came up with a prank idea to gain the show some attention. He told Lunchbox to into the gas station with pantyhose on his head, buy gum, and see what happens. What happened was the opposite of funny: the clerk thought that he was being robbed and triggered the silent alarm which alerted the police.

Lunchbox and Anne Hudson attend the 2017 iHeartCountry Festival, A Music Experience by AT&T at The Frank Erwin Center on May 6, 2017
Source: Getty Images
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Lunchbox was then pulled over in his car by police at gunpoint.

In a “Throwback Thursday” special, Bobby and Lunchbox reflected on the whole ordeal.

“All of a sudden, I get a call on the hotline,” Bobby said in a clip posted to their YouTube channel. It was the police department asking to speak to him. “I walked outside and Lunchbox is sitting in the back of a cop car. They got the entire parking lot blocked off with police cars.”

“I’m like, ‘Ah crap,’” Bobby said, before adding that the cops wanted to arrest him as well. Thankfully, that didn’t happen. But Lunchbox did go to jail. With his one call, he called Bobby’s parents to bail him out.

At the time, the show’s producer reassured them that their show wouldn't be affected as long as the story didn’t make headlines. But of course, several major news outlets, such as CNN and Fox News, covered it. It was even a hot topic on late-night talk shows.

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“We were suspended for over a month,” Bobby shared. “We’d just go and play golf and be like, ‘I wonder if we’re ever going to work again.’”

When the show was brought back, they had to apologize.

Although the experience was scary, it did get the show the traction they needed. “We never looked back from being number one,” Bobby said about their show’s popularity. “That was a catalyst in the show and then we just dominated all those people who made fun of us.”

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This newfound fame came at a cost. In the clip, Lunchbox shared how the experience traumized him. “Yeah, I mean, when that cop got behind me, I was driving back to the station,” he began. He thought that the cop pulled him over due to his expired registration. But when he got out of the car, the cop pointed a gun and yelled for him to get his hands in the air.

From there, eight other cop cars came barreling in.

In a strange twist of events, the cop who took Lunchbox to jail was a listener of their show.

The charges against Lunchbox for making a terroristic threat were dropped. “The cops were like, “You didn’t do anything wrong, you're just idiots.’ We were like, ‘We’ll take it,’” Bobby said.

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