A York Beach man whose pizza shop has been embroiled in a yearslong legal battle over town permitting was arrested in New Hampshire for allegedly stealing city sewer grates, The York Weekly reported.
Spiro Paras, 50, was charged with theft by unauthorized taking by police in Manchester, New Hampshire, after an officer found the man’s truck parked with city sewer grates in the back on Aug. 4, the newspaper reported. The sewer grates, which Paras did not have permission to take, had been placed on the side of the road because of recent construction in the area, according to The York Weekly.
“I picked up two rusty, discarded metal grates by the roadside that I anticipated I would use later during cement construction,” Paras told the newspaper in response to a request for comment. “I was charged with a misdemeanor crime of theft by unauthorized taking. The reason this minor misunderstanding would be prosecuted and reported in a York paper is understandable in context of all the efforts to prevent Paras Pizza from ever opening.”
Paras has been a central figure in an ongoing dispute with town officials over the permitting of his family’s Railroad Avenue pizza parlor, which reportedly has been closed since 2010, when the town ordered renovation work at the site to stop, arguing the family had not obtained proper work permits.
Plumbing, electrical and structural violations also were alleged at the time, The York Weekly reported. That action set off a series of legal and permit-related issues between the town and the Paras family that continue to this day.
Paras has claimed he’s the victim of “selective enforcement,” “obstructionism” and “crony-conducted inspections” while local competitors have received “carte blanche permits.”
Paras was released on $1,000 cash bail and is scheduled to appear in the 9th Circuit Court-Manchester on Sept. 8, The York Weekly reported.