Pizza shop owner waives hearing in 'mice' case

Nicholas Galiatsatos

May 4, 2011 8:37:33 AM PDT
The owner of a Delaware County pizza shop waived his prelminary hearing on Wednesday on charges that he stashed mice in two rival pizza shops.

Nicholas Galiatsatos, 47, the owner of Bella's Pizza shop in Upper Darby, is charged with criminal mischief, disorderly conduct, harassment, and cruelty to animals.

His case will now go to county court.

Police say it was around 2:00 p.m. on February 28 when a man carrying a bag entered the Verona Pizza on West Chester Pike in Upper Darby.

The man asked to use the bathroom, according to Fanis Facas, the owner of Verona Pizza.

"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 during an interview with Action News the day of the incident.

Once Facas entered the bathroom, he said he noticed footprints on the toilet seat.

Facas then looked up at the drop ceiling and noticed someone had tampered with it. He reached in and found the bag the man was carrying.

Inside the bag were live mice. Facas says he alerted two officers who were eating lunch at his shop.

The officers spotted the suspect across the street carrying another bag, entering Uncle Nick's pizza shop.

Inside Nick's Pizza shop, police say they found another bag of live mice thrown into a trashcan. Officers promptly arrested Galiatsatos.

Apparently Bella's on West Chester Pike, which came under new ownership a few months ago, was having trouble drumming up business.

"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 says not only was business not going well for Bella's, but Galiatsatos told police he had a mice problem and he believed his rivals at nearby Uncle Nick's Pizza and Verona Pizza were to blame.

Police say there is no evidence that the owners of Verona and Uncle Nick's had anything to do with Bella's mice problem.