Pawn Stars has been a hit for the History Channel since it debuted in 2009 and a big part of their allure has been fan-favorite, Austin Lee Russell, otherwise known as Chumlee. The long-haired, bearded beanie-wearing staple gained notoriety for his unintentional humor, laid-back demeanor, and his, seemingly, innocent outlook on life.
Although, he is often teased by the other men in the World Famous Gold and Silver Pawn Shop, it is clear that they, like viewers, are very fond of Russell. It was a bit of a shock, therefore, when his recent arrest made headlines.
Drug and Weapon Charges
On March 9, 2016, Russell was arrested on felony weapon and drug charges. Police were at his home in southwest Las Vegas as part of a sexual assault investigation. While he was not arrested as part of those allegations, the 33-year-old was taken into custody after a search of the premises uncovered, at least, one gun, marijuana and methamphetamine.
In all, Russell was held at the Clark County Detention Center on one weapon charge and 19 drug-possession charges. His bail was set at $62, 000. No statements have been issued by the History Channel.
With 229,000 Twitter followers and a successful merchandise line, it’s clear that Russell has a strong fanbase. In 2014, the television personality explained his allure to the Las Vegas Sun saying: “People can relate to me, and they root for me because on the show I am the dumb guy, the one who is a little rougher around the edges. I’m the guy they want to hug.”
Russell’s father died of pancreatic cancer just weeks before Pawn Stars premiered and never got the chance to see his son on the series where he interacts with his childhood best friend, Corey “Big Hoss” Harrison, the son and grandson of Rick and Richard Harrison, respectively, who opened the World Famous Gold and Silver Pawn Shop back in 1989.
Russell gained the nickname “Chumlee” around 12 years old when the father of one of his friends said his round face and chin made him look like the walrus, Chumley, from the animated series, Tennesse Tuxedo and his Tales.
So far, fan reaction has been largely supportive of Russell with some people refusing to believe the allegations. KTNV spoke to fan, Damon Leaks, who said: “I don’t see Chumlee doing that. I think that might be somebody out trying to get” his money.”
Hopefully, things will get resolved from this point forward and the truth, whatever that may be, will come out.