Pizzeria war turns extreme as owner destroys sign with vehicle
POSTED: Wednesday, February 1, 2012 - 9:00am
UPDATED: Wednesday, February 1, 2012 - 9:04am
NBC NATIONAL NEWS — A New York man is facing charges after police say he was caught on tape damaging a pizza sign with his Jeep.
Investigators say the incident is part of an ongoing feud between two pizzerias in North Tonawanda.
Pizza Junction, which was recently sold to a new buyer, and Vito's Avenue Pizzeria, which is advertising that it is now selling 'Junction'-style pizza.
North Tonawanda Police say it escalated last Friday when Ryan Fleckenstein, the son of the former owners of Pizza Junction, allegedly went to Vito's to complain about the sign out front on the sidewalk.
"I told him that I wasn't gonna take it down and he said OK, well I don't mind spending the night in jail," says Peter Wozniak, owner of Vito's Avenue Pizzeria.
Surveillance camera from a neighboring business caught the incident on tape.
Police say Fleckenstein got into his Jeep and rammed into the sign before driving off.
"He was charged with reckless endangerment for committing this act while people were in the proximity that could have been hurt," says North Tonawanda Police Chief Randy Szukala.
Two teens were standing near the sign when the incident happened but Fleckenstein apparently told them to move away from the sign just before the crash.
Fleckenstein is charged with criminal mischief for damage to the $700 sign and reckless endangerment for the proximity of the people.
Fleckenstein was with his attorney and pleaded not guilty in City Court before Judge William Lewis.
He remains free on $750 bail.
The Judge also issued an order of protection, telling Fleckenstein to stay away from Wozniak and Vito's Avenue Pizzeria.