Cops: Pizza shop owner is a rat who hid mice at competing shops

Are these mice victims, unintentional accomplices or criminal evidence?

This story has been updated

In what was hardly the best-laid scheme of mice and men, an Upper Darby pizza shop owner tried to sabotage two of his competitors today by stashing mice in their pizza shops, according to police.

Two Upper Darby cops were eating lunch in Verona Pizza on West Chester Pike around 2 p.m. when Nikolas Galiatsatos, 47, walked in to Verona's carrying a bag and asked to use the bathroom, said Upper Darby Police Superintendent Michael Chitwood.

Once he left the shop, the owner of Verona's looked in the bathroom and told the officers that Galiastsatos, whom he did not know, had left footprints on his toilet, police said. When the owner checked in the ceiling above the toilet, he found a plastic bag with a brown paper bag inside, Chitwood said.

Believing the man had stashed drugs in his ceiling, the pizza shop owner turned the bag over to police, who discovered that instead of heroin in the bag, there were several little hairy ones - three white mice to be exact, police said.

Although they didn't get a good look at the rat bastard who put them there, they looked outside and saw him walking into nearby Uncle Nick's Pizza with another bag, Chitwood said.

When Galiatsatos saw police, he quickly entered and left Uncle Nick's and cops later discovered that he had dumped another bag with five living mice and one dead mouse in the garbage can at Uncle Nick's, Chitwood said.

Galiatsatos, who is the owner of Nina's Bella Pizzeria, which is also on West Chester Pike, was taken into custody and charged with disorderly conduct, harassment and animal cruelty. Police said his business, which opened only a month or two ago, is not doing well and that may have prompted the attempted sabotage.