Pennsylvania pizzeria owner Nikolas Galiatsato is in jail after allegedly trying to sabotage two rival restaurants by infesting them with mice.
Upper Darby police said a man believed to be Galiatsato walked into Verona Pizza on Monday afternoon and asked to use the bathroom. After he left, the owner said he found footprints on the toilet and noticed that the drop ceiling had been disturbed, and he found a bag tucked up above.
The owner turned the bag over to two police officers who happened to be eating lunch there, and they found three white mice inside, police Superintendent Michael Chitwood said.
"We call it, kind of tongue in cheek, terrorism by mice or the great pizza wars," he said.
The suspect then ran across the street and placed mice in the trash cans of another restaurant.
"It's insane. It's crazy. I never heard of anything like that. I never witnessed anything like that," pizza shop owner Fanis Facas said.
"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 and there were footprints on the toilet seat," he added.
"This is outrageous. How could anyone do this? This is how I feed my kids," said Harry Saritsogleu, owner of Uncle Nick's Pizza.
Galiatsatos, 47, the owner of Nina's Bella Pizzeria a few blocks away, faces charges of disorderly conduct, harassment and animal cruelty, police said.
According to Chitwood, investigators believe Galiatsatos was trying to drum up business for his own rodent invested parlor by discrediting his competitors.
"We believe that he's trying to put the competitive pizza places out of business," Chitwood said.
Galiatsatos claims his competitors started the rivalry by dropping mice on his property first.
Chitwood said the mice, apparently purchased that day at a nearby pet store, have been turned over to animal control officers.