Van Ert told police that he entered the cooler around 11:50 p.m. and that he decided to stay in there. Wisconsin Rapids Daily Tribune reported that the store was open all night and if he had knocked on the door, employees likely would have heard him. The cooler automatically locks at midnight because it's illegal for stores to sell alcohol between the hours of midnight and 6 a.m.
“This is unique. I've been here 20 years,” Marshfield Police Chief Rick Gramza told WAOW. “I’ve heard of people being locked inside of buildings, never inside of a beer cooler.”