T he owner of Acropolis Pizza House on Marshall Street says he can't be held responsible for crime in that part of the Syracuse University campus.
Peter Mavrikidis told CNY Central's Jim Kenyon that he fears the city is trying to shut down his restaurant because he turned down a request to close at 1:30 am. Acropolis Pizza currently stays open until 2:30, but Mavrikidis says it usually takes an hour for the place to clear out.
Syracuse University recently issued a "public safety update" which advised students of an "uptick in crime near SU." The notice stated: "there have been two recent incidents of concern on Marshall Street near Acropolis Pizza involving non-SU students...We would therefore suggest avoiding this establishment late at night, as it has been the center-point of these activities."
On September 15th, police reported that someone fired a gun in front of Acropolis and on September 22nd, there was a stabbing outside the restaurant.
Mavrikidis says he "understands police have a job to do", but he says he can't be held responsible for crime that occurs on Marshall Street. Mavrikidis if he were to close at 1:30, it would destroy much of his business. "If I shut early, they'll just go down the street."
Mavrikidis says police have warned him about the city's "nuisance law" and told him he already has "two strikes" against him. Under the nuisance law, if there are three criminal incidents in the vicinity of a business, the city of Syracuse can shut down the establishment. The third strike may have taken place early Saturday morning, when police charged the night manager at Acropolis with selling beer to a minor.
Syracuse Police Spokesman Tom Connellan says no decision has been made by city officials on whether to close the restaurant, but he says it "more than qualifies." Connellan says the problems at Acropolis Pizza go back to October, 2010. He showed Kenyon 20 police reports involving fights and assaults with weapons by known gang members that took place both inside and outside the restaurant. Connellan says Mavrikidis does not wish to cooperate with the department's stepped up efforts to combat crime in the area. "We're trying to get a handle on the problem... but when an owner buries his head in the sand and says it's not my problem... well it is."
Ryan Shanahan, who says he's a frequent customer of Acropolis Pizza, says "it's unfair" to target the business for crime that occurs nearby. Tiffany Albright agrees and questions whether "more police presence" is needed.