UPPER DARBY, Pa. (CBS) — Authorities in suburban Philadelphia are accusing a pizzeria owner of trying to sabotage two rival shops by dumping mice into them.
Nikolas Galiatsatos is in jail, accused of dropping off mice at two rival pizzerias on Monday afternoon.
According to police, Galiatsatos, 47 years-old, walked into Verona Pizza on Westchester Pike and asked to use the bathroom. The owner was suspicious when Galiatsatos went in with a bag in his hand but left without one.
The owner saw footprints on the toilet seat, and retrieved the bag that Galiatsatos had left from the ceiling.
“Once I saw a bag, I pulled it out and told officers right away. They told me there were mice in the bag. I automatically threw it outside,” said Fanis Facas, owner of Verona.
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Police Superintendent Michael Chitwood says two cops happened to be having lunch there at the time. They followed Galiatsatos to the nearby Uncle Nick’s, where they say he dumped six more mice — one of them dead — in a bag in a trash can.
“We look in there and there is a bag of mice,” said Harry Saritsoglou, owner of Uncle Nick’s Pizza. “He is out of his mind. He lost his mind.”
Police believe Galiatsatos was having problems with mice at Nina Bella, a pizzeria he owns nearby, and was blaming his competitors.
“He went out specifically to buy these mice and there’s no doubt it was in retaliation, because apparently his business isn’t doing that well. He’s trying to put them out of business,” said Chitwood.
The 47-year-old is facing numerous charges including Harassment, Criminal Mischief, Disorderly Conduct and Cruelty to Animals.
The mice have been turned over to animal control.
Reported by Todd Quinones, CBS 3; Ian Bush, KYW Newsradio