Heated Pizza Rivalry Ends in Arson, Cops Say

Oct 31, 2011 4:46pm

The manager of a Domino’s Pizza in Lake City, Fla., torched a Papa John’s Pizza down the street because he hoped his boss would give him a bonus if business increased, police said.

The heated rivalry burst into flames on Oct. 20, when an arson attack caused about $500,000 in damages to Papa John’s, said Capt. John Blanchard of Lake City Police Department.

According to Blanchard, Bryan David Sullivan, 22, a general manager of the Domino’s,  confessed.

“He was the mastermind. He said he was sick of seeing Papa John’s trucks going by,” Blanchard said.

“And he said he was looking at an upcoming bonus of a few hundred dollars based on the increase in business, and he was going to split it with the accomplice,” the police captain said.

The alleged accomplice was identified as Sean Everett Davidson, 23.

The men made two golf ball-size explosive devices with gunpowder and fire accelerant, Blanchard said. When they broke into the Papa John’s and tried to activate one of the devices, the accelerant caught fire prematurely, perhaps from a pilot light, police said.

Davidson was badly burned, and the pair fled. They drove south on I-75 and threw the second device out the window, police said. Blanchard urged anyone in the area not to pick up a golf ball-size object in a plastic bag, because it could catch fire and do serious harm.

“This is beyond logic,” said Tim McIntyre, vice president of communications for Domino’s Pizza. “There are two innocent victims here, and they’re both independent pizza shop owners.”

The owner of the Lake City Domino’s was out of town when the fire occurred, and when he heard his employees might be involved, he called the police himself, McIntyre said. Blanchard could not confirm McIntyre’s version of events.

This wasn’t the first case of a pizzeria trying to sabotage a rival. This past March an Upper Darby, Pa., pizzeria owner was arrested for allegedly trying to stash bags of live mice in two competing restaurants.

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