Police: Pizza shop stole from customers

May 8, 2009 8:51:19 AM PDT
Police say Mark Pinella tried to make a killing off his customer's carelessness."A lot of people were not even aware charges had been made on their accounts," said Detective Chris Cody.

Pinella's pizza shop is closed now and his equipment and assets seized. Investigators say for months, Pinella routinely charged his customer's debit and credit card accounts for pizza and other food they didn't buy.

So far, they have identified over 160 victims. The extra charges police say averaged $5 to $30 each time. The key to his plan, investigators say, was that a lot of his victims either didn't notice the charge or ignored it on their monthly statement.

But not Christine Broome.

"Nine times he charged me - all the charges were different," she told Eyewitness News.

Broome meticulously checks her bank statements. She said the bogus charges added up to more than 130 dollars.

Pinella is now in jail under $100,000 secured bond facing identity theft and other charges.

Police say there is a lesson to be learned here.

Check your bank statements. If you find an irregularity, notify your bank notify the police and keep track of that," said Cody.

Broome says she learned another lesson.

"From now on, If I order from any place for delivery, I pay cash - never use my card again," she said.

Police expect to file more charges again Mark Pinella.


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