Pizzeria Owner Tries to Sabotage Rivals by Planting Mice in Restaurants

Pennsylvania pizzaiolo caught hiding live mice in competitors' shops

March 01, 2011, 4:16 PM

March 1, 2011— -- A Pennsylvania pizzeria owner smelled a rat, or at least a bag of mice.

Cops arrested pizza man Nicholas Galiatsatos Monday after a cross-town rival allegedly caught the owner of Bella Pizzeria in Upper Darby, Pa., trying to stash bags of live mice in two competing pizzerias.

"It's insane. It's crazy. I never heard of anything like that. I never witnessed anything like that," Fanis Facas, the owner of Verona Pizza told ABC affiliate WPVI-TV.

Facas said a man entered his restaurant Monday carrying a bag and made his way to the bathroom.

"He goes to the bathroom and I heard a noise going on in the bathroom. I thought it was just him banging around or something, so I checked after he had gone out of the bathroom," Facas said.

Inside the restroom, Facas said he found footprints on the toilet seat and a ceiling tile that had been tampered with. Upon further investigation he said he found a bag stashed in the ceiling filled with live mice.

Facas alerted two police officers who happened to be in the restaurant having lunch. The cops spotted Galiatsatos crossing the street and entering another pizzeria with another bag under his arm.

When he noticed the police, Galiatsatos allegedly ran into Uncle Nicks and discarded the bag of mice in a garbage can. Cops found it and arrested him.

"This is outrageous, how could anyone do this? This is how I feed my kids," Harry Saritsogleu, owner of Uncle Nick's Pizza told WPVI.

Police said they believe Galiatsatos was hoping to drum up business for his own struggling pizzeria by discrediting his rivals.

"He can't get started over there. Apparently he's having a problem getting started, so I guess that's his way of putting the other guys out of business," Upper Darby Police Superintendent Michael Chitwood said.

Chitwood said Galiastatos had brought the mice from a pet store earlier in the day.

It was unclear if he had obtained a lawyer.

"I've never had to deal with mice as an instrument of criminality. And certainly I've never had to deal with pizza and mice at the same time," Chitwood said.

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