55-Year-Old Man Beats Up 38-Year-Old Over Cell Phone Use at Library

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Dave Wrobel was mad as hell over a fellow library patron's cell phone use -- and not gonna take it.
​Dave Wrobel came to the library to study. As a non-traditional student at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, Wrobel has found that he focuses best when he's not tempted by the TV or fridge or any other distractions in his south-county home.

But Wrobel hadn't bargained on cell phones.

Whenever he tried to study at the Tesson Ferry branch of St. Louis County Public Library, he says, he was plagued by all the blabbing. "It happens every time," Wrobel says. "There are signs all over -- 'No Cell Phones' and 'Quiet Study Area.' But people answer their phones and just start talking away."

And so it was on the evening of February 14. Wrobel had an exam to work on -- but the man seated a few tables away answered his cell phone and seemed to be in no hurry to wrap things up.

Wrobel had had enough. This time, he spoke up -- and set off a brawl so vicious that both men ended up requiring medical attention.

And, to his consternation, Wrobel, the guy who tried to enforce the rules, now finds himself banned from the county library.


As Wrobel tells it, he'd been working about ten minutes that February evening when the man a few tables over answered his phone and began chatting away. "I sat there and waited awhile, thinking it's going to end," he recalls. "It didn't."

So Wrobel, 55, picked up one of the table-top signs banning cell phone use and placed it directly in front of the gabber, pointing at it for good measure.

The man looked up -- and flipped him off, mouthing, "Fuck you." He did not hang up the phone.

When Wrobel told the librarian what had just transpired, she stopped by and asked the man to refrain from cell phone use. At that point, he finally hung up. But the minute the librarian was back at her station, the man had words for Wrobel -- mainly, Wrobel says, he threatened him. "I'm going to beat your fucking ass," he recalls the man saying. "I'm going to wait for you outside." And then he stormed out.

Wrobel is 55 years old, with wire rimmed glasses and a neat white goatee. The other man was bigger and younger -- 38 years old, or so the guy later told the police.

"I saw him walk out towards the front of the library," Wrobel recalls, "and I said, 'Is he actually going out there to beat me up?'" Part of him wondered, he admits, whether the man had a gun.

Adrenaline flowing, he raced toward the librarian's desk and told them to call the police. "There's going to be an incident," he warned. Then, without thinking, he stepped outside to see if the man was still there.

"He came at me, and I put 'em up," Wrobel says.


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26 comments
silence is golden
silence is golden

The root of the problem, is allowing cell phone use in the library, period.  I am a preschool teacher, and our facility does not allow cell phone use by the parents in order for the adults to give their full attention to their children.  If they can be banned in school, they should be banned from the library too.  Like another person commented, if you need to make a call, go outside.

Colleen
Colleen

I had a similar encounter at that library!After a man had been talking very loudly on his cell phone for 5 min in the reference, aka "quiet," room I told a librarian. The librarian told him that a girl had a problem with his talking. After he finished his call, he started cursing another girl. I told him it was me and showed him the sign on his table that said "no talking." He went on and on about how rude I was to interrupt his call and that I better hope I don't see him in the parking lot. In the end, nothing was solved. He kept talking. Maybe they need to look into hiring bouncers for librarians.

big boomer
big boomer

Fun with rude cellphone users (which is most of you): I get as close as I can and start talking as loudly as possible, and maybe half-yell to someone across the room a few times. It really cheeses them off and they can't really ask me to stop talking in public.And, children- MIND YOUR MANNERS; even if some of us younger baby-boomers weren't in Vietnam, we can still take you apart like a bucket of chicken! Beware the Boomers!

Stevepohlman
Stevepohlman

Wrobel is my hero. The righteously adminstered beat down is a missing ingredient in society today.

Tom
Tom

Hey Dave, do you like movies? We could really use you there.

Ladydracon
Ladydracon

WHOOF!! WHOOF!! WHOOF!! My hero YEAHHH! ungracious little pissant he needed a good asswhoopin.

Poppymann
Poppymann

Good for him! The general lack of courtesy by these fuckwads infuriates me. The stupid ass deserved a good pummeling. But Wrobel did not deserve the ban. It's time to start speaking up to the rude, self-centered bubble dwellers.Also, there was a time when people didn't casually give you the finger. Where I'm from, you better be able to back it up.

MandoMadman
MandoMadman

Watch out for us-you may be younger and stronger but we are totally ruthless and will not hesitate to kick your butt.

Try learning some manners.

jim S
jim S

Way to go Dave. People will not shut up in the library. He should of broke an arm or a leg on the younger shit head. Dave should have smashed his balls on the pavement.

Carol R
Carol R

The older guy is right. If he reported the incident to the library and they didn’t do anything, what did they expect the man to do? We all have a right to self-defense, and who wants some pencil pushing bureaucrat determining the appropriateness of our actions. They should analyze their own response to the situation.

Lora R St. Louis
Lora R St. Louis

Mr. Wrobel did what everyone who has ever tried to study in library has thought of doing when they encountered the cell phone from hell conversation. He didn’t start the problem but finished it. I was a nontraditional student had the same experience over and over. If you have to talk on the phone go outside it’s that simple. The library is at fault if they are going to post rules then ignore them they are responsible for the outcome. I am sorry Mr. Wrobel was injured but the young man learned a valuable lesson I hope. Never judge a book by its cover!

FAIRMONTCITY
FAIRMONTCITY

MARCIA, TOTALLY AGREE THAT DAVE IS THE ONE THAT WAS IN THE RIGHT, PEOPLE HAVE NO RESPECT FOR THOSE THAT WANT TO FORWARD THEIR SELF. I THINK EVEN THE LIBARY WAS SO IN THE WRONG, THEY SHOULD OF BEEN FOR THE SOMEONE THAT COMES TO REPORT WHAT IS GOING ON, SO WHEN THING S TURNED OUT LIKE THEY DID, THEY TOTALLY HANDLE IT THE WRONG WAY, AND DAVE WAS WRONGFULLY MISTREATED.

Tony
Tony

The library director claims that the proper course of action would be to talk to the staff so they can handle the problem. Funny... Seems to me that's exactly what Wrobel did. And the staff did nothing. I used to use the Tesson Ferry branches library to study on a regular basis. The cell phone use is out of control. This should be a wake up call to the staff and the director.

'Rance
'Rance

Kudos to Wrobel. Seems to me that the younger guy was looking for trouble. Everyone knows the library is meant to be a quiet place. Not only was he wrong for talking on his cell phone in the designated quiet area, but HE picked a fight with Wrobel. Wrobel only resorted to violence after multiple peaceful attempts to reason with the younger man.

INTETRESTED
INTETRESTED

Sounds like the library's director is in denial, he says “If a customer is disturbed, we ask to them to come tell a staff member, and they'll take it from there. Let the staff address it”, and” fisticuffs put our staff and other patrons in danger”. Sounds like the guy did tell the staff and look what happened. Fisticuffs put the staff and other patrons in danger anyway, and he got injured. The older guy is right, they deserve to be sued, and the staff should be fired.

Gymsegr
Gymsegr

I've known Dave for over 40 years and it's very out of charecter for him to fight unless in self defence! Kudo's for Dave for putting a loud mouth young punk in his place!

STFUplz
STFUplz

I stopped going my local branch of the St Louis Library for exactly this reason -- multiple patrons on their phones or otherwise making a ton of noise, while all the staff pretended not to notice. It was impossible to concentrate on anything, even in the designated 'quiet' areas.

Mike N.
Mike N.

The part of the story that doesn't make sense: why go go up to UMSL? Why not Kirkwood or Webster Public (neither of which are part of the county system,) Buder branch of St Louis City, or Arnold branch of Jeffco Public? Not to mention Meramec CC, Webster U., etc.

anonymous
anonymous

obviously we're hearing wrobel's version, but i don't have a problem with anything he did

the other guy was acting like an asshole and decided he wanted to fight when called on it

a fight he got

Terry
Terry

So the older guy wiped the younger, smart allek ass hole's ass? Good for him.

Jailerjim
Jailerjim

Looks like they both got what they asked for. But the older dude is right you go to the library to study not to listen to someone talk on their phone. So lets blame it on the library for not enforcing their rules to start with.

St_louis63104
St_louis63104

Both of these guys sound like complete ballsacks.

Jim s
Jim s

Both of them sound like complete ballsacks? Well ST. Louis your a dumb ass and a shit bum. If you ever go to a library as I can see your to dumb to do so that your in there to be QUIT. I guess your mom and dad never told you that. It's people like you that go there and think it's a night club and talk,have fun, and party. That is not what a library is for once again your to be QUIT dumb ass.

The Rock
The Rock

That's my brother you're talking about "dicknose"!

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