Bradley Hardison has been living a life of doughnut crime

By Mike Pomranz
Updated February 13, 2018
Dunkin Donuts
Credit: photos courtesy of the ELIZABETH CITY POLICE DEPARTMENT and Bloomberg via getty images

A doughnut obsession can be unhealthy: The sugary breakfast staple is a classic way to pack on the pounds. But for one North Carolina man, his doughnut-related life decisions have proven to be downright criminal. Bradley Hardison was recently arrested for allegedly robbing a Dunkin’ Donuts back in November. That wouldn’t be particularly noteworthy except for the fact that, four years ago, Hardison was arrested for a separate incident after he blew his cover by winning a police-sponsored doughnut-eating contest.

According to the Virginia-Pilot, back in 2014 Hardison won the doughnut-eating contest at the Elizabeth City Police Department National Night Out Against Crime event in his hometown of Elizabeth City, North Carolina, by eating eight glazed doughnuts in two minutes. However, any celebration was short lived. Turns out, Hardison—who was 24 years old at the time—was wanted as a suspect for break-ins at two grocery stores. After his big win, that same police force arrested Hardison the next day. He was eventually convicted of these crimes, receiving a three-year suspended jail sentence.

Now, years later, doughnuts have done him in again. Hardison was recently arrested and charged with felony breaking and entering, felony safe cracking, and felony larceny of a Dunkin’ Donuts back in November, according to, once again, the Elizabeth City Police Department. Meanwhile, the Associated Press quipped that it “wasn't clear if he helped himself to any doughnuts.”

Speaking of quips, Hardison’s previous folly of not just entering, but winning a doughnut-eating contest held by the police department that was investigating him made him a bit of a celebrity, but this more recent headline of “Doughnut-Eating Contest Winner Charged with Robbing a Dunkin’ Donuts Shop” has proved to be big enough of an attention-grabber to turn him into an international phenomenon. The quirky news story has gone global, getting coverage everywhere from our neighbors to the north in Canada (via to the Montreal Gazette) to a write up across the pond thanks to the Telegraph, and even on the other side of the world with an article on New Zealand’s Stuff.

At this point, it’s probably safe to think that Hardison might stay away from doughnuts moving forward. And let this be a lesson to all of us: When your mom told you to eat oatmeal instead of doughnuts for breakfast, she might have been on to something.