Police: Men handing out pizza fliers tried to burglarize motel rooms



VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. - Daytona Beach police said they've arrested two men who were trying to break into hotel rooms while handing out fliers for a pizza restaurant.

Police said Austin Brown, 20, and Alex Clifton, 22, were seen trying to burglarize rooms at the Holiday Inn on North Atlantic Avenue in Daytona Beach Monday.

Both men were employees at Napoli's Pizza and were handing out fliers for the restaurant when guests said they saw them trying to break into the rooms.

Police Chief Michael Chitwood told WFTV he believes certain pizza restaurants are knowingly hiring convicted felons to do the job.

Near beach-side hotels, pizza is big business. But Daytona Beach police will be cracking down on pizza restaurants for how they conduct business.

Chitwood said they are the source of the problem of hotel rooms getting burglarized.

"They're a cancer that's spread along the beach side to these hotels because you see a spike in burglaries and you tie it directly back to the pizza folks," said Chitwood.

Police recently arrested four employees handing out pizza fliers.

Brown and Clifton were arrested Monday night. Police also arrested Clay Wright and Fadwa Najdi from Nimo's Pizza over a week ago. Police said all were passing out fliers and trying to get into hotel rooms.

"As they're putting the pizza fliers under the door, they conveniently put their hand on the door and try to push the door to see that it opens," said Chitwood.

It's far from the first time it has happened. Video shows a man in the process of trying to break in hotel rooms in 2010.

Within the same year, an employee from Napoli's Pizza tried to rape a woman in her hotel room, according to police.

Chitwood is now blaming the pizza restaurants. He said they may even be in on the crime.

"They're hiring these scumbags. They're hiring burglars. They're hiring people who turn out to be rapists and they continually do it," he said.

Daytona Beach has an ordinance that does not allow pizza fliers to be handed out at hotel rooms, but police said the restaurants are blatantly violating that ordinance.

Police want hotels to report it when it happens.