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Pizza shop owner charged after scuffle

January 14, 2009|By DAN DEARTH

HAGERSTOWN -- The owner of a Hagerstown pizza shop was charged Friday with resisting arrest after he shouted curses at police officers and then scuffled with them after he was informed that beer had been served to an underage woman, according to allegations in a Hagerstown Police Department supplement report.

Frank J. Picone, 42, owner of Rocky's Pizza at 907 S. Potomac St., also was charged with one count each of obstructing and hindering, disorderly conduct and possession of marijuana, according to court documents.

Hagerstown Police Sgt. Kevin Simmers met with the Board of License Commissioners for Washington County, known as the liquor board, on Wednesday to discuss the incident. The meeting was held behind closed doors because the liquor board's investigation into the matter had not been completed, said William F. Dunham, liquor board secretary.

According to the police report, the situation arose Friday at about 8:45 p.m. when an officer in plain clothes and a female when into the restaurant to conduct an alcohol compliance check.

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They each ordered french fries and a beer at the counter and sat down in a booth, the police report said.

After the food and beer were served, the woman went outside and reported to Simmers, the report says. Simmers went inside and told the waitress that alcohol had been served to the underage woman.

The report alleges that Simmers "was then contacted by Frank Joseph Picone, who stated he was the owner of the establishment. Picone shouted" and cursed at the officers, according to the report.

When Simmers asked for information, Picone cursed at him, said "I am not giving you any information," and called the officer a name, according to allegations in the report.

"Sgt. Simmers then advised Picone that he was under arrest," the report says.

The report alleges that "Picone attempted to pull away from Sgt. Simmers while he continued to shout" curses, to call him a name and to threaten, "I will have your job."

Sgt. Simmers told him, "you are under arrest, quit resisting," the report contends.

"You cannot arrest me in my business," the report alleges that Picone said.

Picone continued swearing at police and threatened to "head butt" them as Simmers and the undercover officer got Picone on the floor and handcuffed him, according to allegations in the report.

The report said about four customers and six to eight employees were present during the incident.

When Picone was searched at police headquarters, police found a bag of "greenish brown vegetable material" in a baggie, the report alleges. A field test conducted on the material "produced a positive reaction for marijuana," the report says.

Picone declined to comment when he was reached by telephone Wednesday.

Picone's trial has been set for March 3 in Washington County District Court, according to court documents. Conviction of all charges would carry a penalty of more than four years in prison.

The maximum penalty for a business that is found guilty of underage alcohol sales is the loss of its liquor license and a fine of $2,500, Liquor Board Chairman Robert L. Everhart has said. Those penalties are rarely imposed, he said.

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