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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Towing firms state contract at stake
The operation of a tow truck company, now at the center of a controversy over a pilfered load of thousands of lobsters, is being reviewed by the Massachusetts State Police.
Date: 08/05/08 | Category: News

Towing company under review
The operation of a tow truck company, now at the center of a controversy over a pilfered load of thousands of lobsters, is being reviewed by the Massachusetts State Police.
Date: 08/05/08 | Category: News

State police study tow truck company
The operation of a tow truck company, now at the center of a controversy over a pilfered load of thousands of lobsters, is being reviewed by the Massachusetts State Police.
Date: 08/05/08 | Category: News

The Backup Files
It was supposed to be a shipment of lobsters destined for a date with drawn butter, but an accident last week on Interstate 395 that spilled some of the crustaceans onto the highway turned into a news story with legs.
Date: 08/03/08 | Category: News

Lobster tale nets more food
More lobsters were recovered yesterday from an area restaurant that had been taken from a wrecked tractor-trailer involved in a crash Sunday on Interstate 395 in Webster.
Date: 07/30/08 | Category: News

Hot lobster tale nets more fishy food
More lobsters were recovered yesterday from an area restaurant that had been taken from a wrecked tractor-trailer involved in a crash Sunday on Interstate 395 in Webster.
Date: 07/30/08 | Category: News

Hot lobster tale nets some more fishy vittles
More lobsters were recovered yesterday from an area restaurant that had been taken from a wrecked tractor-trailer involved in a crash Sunday on Interstate 395 in Webster.
Date: 07/30/08 | Category: News

Hot lobster tale nets more fishy food
More lobsters were recovered yesterday from an area restaurant that had been taken from a wrecked tractor-trailer involved in a crash Sunday on Interstate 395 in Webster.
Date: 07/30/08 | Category: News

Lobster load goes to pot
Thousands of pounds of lobster and seafood that had been ordered destroyed instead were unloaded from a truck involved in an accident Sunday on Interstate 395 in Webster, and some of the load was illegally distributed, according to the state...
Date: 07/29/08 | Category: News
Regional digest
WEBSTER -- Traffic on Route 395 was limited to one lane for nearly 12 hours yesterday after a driver lost control of a truck carrying live lobsters. The truck hit three cars and partially overturned, spilling its cargo onto the shoulder.
Date: 07/28/08 | Category: Digests

Lobster truck crashes, snarls I-395 traffic
Traffic on Interstate 395 was limited to one lane for nearly 12 hours yesterday after a driver lost control of a truck carrying live lobsters. The truck hit three cars and partially overturned, spilling its cargo onto the shoulder.
Date: 07/28/08 | Category: News

Regional digest
WEBSTER -- Traffic on I-395 was limited to one lane for nearly 12 hours yesterday after a driver lost control of a truck carrying live lobsters. The truck hit three cars and partially overturned, spilling its cargo onto the shoulder.
Date: 07/28/08 | Category: Digests
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Lobster tale still a potboiler

By Gerard F. Russell TELEGRAM & GAZETTE STAFF
[email protected]



Mr. Villatico



Mr. Moscoffian

DUDLEY- Two Oxford businessmen, a restaurateur and a tow truck company owner, are each facing three felony charges in connection with their alleged role in pilfering thousands of lobsters taken from a tractor-trailer wreck on Interstate 395 in Webster in July.

Arnold A. Villatico, owner of Periwinkles & Giorgios Pub and Restaurant on the Oxford-Auburn line, and Robert J. Moscoffian, owner of Moscoffian Towing of 233 Old Webster Road, were charged yesterday with larceny over $250, conspiracy to commit larceny and unlicensed possession of shellfish, according to Timothy J. Connolly, spokesman for Worcester District Attorney Joseph D. Early Jr.

The value of the cargo was estimated at $200,000, Mr. Connolly said.

The men will be summoned to Dudley District Court for arraignment Oct. 31. The complaints were issued yesterday in that court.

The Canadian tractor-trailer was hauling lobsters southbound on the highway July 27 when it was involved in a multi-vehicle crash. The truck, from New Brunswick, was ripped open in the crash. Some of the lobsters were exposed to diesel fuel that spilled from the truck's tanks.

The load of 6 tons of live lobsters and other seafood was ordered destroyed by a Webster health official because it was not refrigerated for more than four hours and was exposed to the fuel. The seafood was deemed "unsafe for human consumption."

Thomas Purcell, director of public health in Webster, who issued the order, said in his report on the incident that Mr. Moscoffian, "chose to hire a refrigeration unit to hold the product for the insurance company. I told him that if the state/federal authorities felt that any part of the load was salvageable, they could override my decision, otherwise destroy the load as quickly as reasonable because it will begin to stink rapidly."

According to Mr. Connolly, Mr. Moscoffian was told by Mr. Purcell to maintain a list of the cargo he was ordered to dispose and hold any remaining cargo for the insurance company, Great West Casualty. Mr. Moscoffian was told by an insurance company representative at the crash scene to bring the refrigerated trailer to the Globe Fish Company in Boston the next day. The refrigerated truck filled with the lobsters never made it to the fish company.

Police alleged that Mr. Moscoffian and Mr. Villatico sold the lobsters out of the rented truck behind Mr. Villatico's restaurant.

The day after the crash, state police stopped the refrigerator truck in Auburn on Route 12 and found lobsters inside. Earlier that day, there were reports of lobsters being sold out of the truck from the parking lot of Mr. Villatico's restaurant. After questioning the two men, police went to Periwinkles & Giorgios and confiscated lobsters being cooked in the kitchen. Police said they had evidence the lobsters were from the wrecked truck.

The remaining lobsters found in the truck that were still alive were released into Boston Harbor by state Environmental Police.

When asked by a reporter shortly after the refrigerator truck was stopped about why they had the lobsters and if they were selling them, both men said that any money they received for the lobsters would be donated to the veterans' shelter in Worcester and they also were going to donate lobsters to the shelter. But a spokesman for the shelter said the pair was not authorized to collect donations on behalf of the shelter. The spokesman also said the shelter did not receive any lobsters, nor would they have accepted them.

Days later, hundreds of lobsters were turned over to officials by a Worcester restaurant owner, whom police did not wish to identify.

The Worcester restaurant owner said he was told by Mr. Villatico that he "overbought for a lobster festival," Mr. Connolly said.

"Mr. Villatico sold the restaurant 600 lobsters for $3,000 in a cash-only transaction without any receipt," Mr. Connolly said.

The district attorney's office noted that neither man has the permits required to sell seafood wholesale.

Since the incident, Mr. Moscoffian's company has lost two lucrative towing contracts. The American Automobile Association ended its decade-long relationship with the company for area towing for its members.

Mr. Moscoffian also asked that his company be taken off the state police list of towing companies the agency uses for state roads. The move by Mr. Moscoffian came after state police conducted inspections of his equipment and storage facility amid questions whether he had the necessary equipment required by the state police contract.

Moscoffian is well-known in Central Massachusetts for running the annual New England Summer Nationals in Worcester.

The case was investigated by Massachusetts Environmental Police and state police detectives assigned to the district attorney's office.

"I really feel we did absolutely nothing wrong. I think they are just trying to make an issue out of it. And I am sure we are going to show that in court. All they have done is slander us," Mr. Villatico said last night, referring to the state police.

Both men had previously alleged that police and rescue workers also had taken lobsters the day of the crash. Police and rescue workers have denied the charge.

Mr. Moscoffian could not be reached for comment yesterday.

http://www.telegram.com/article/20080917/NEWS/809170634/1116
 

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Thanks KW, a couple of my coworkers are involved in this and the newspaper is just scratching the surface. There is alot more than just the larceny and it will all come out in the end
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Saturday, November 1, 2008

Men enter pleas in wrecked lobsters caper

Pair charged with larceny, illegal possession of shellfish

By Gerard F. Russell TELEGRAM & GAZETTE STAFF
[email protected]


3 comments | Add a comment



Arnold A. Villatico, left, and Robert J. Moscoffian were arraigned in Dudley District Court yesterday. (T&G Staff Photo)

DUDLEY- Not guilty pleas were entered in Dudley District Court yesterday on behalf of two Oxford businessmen implicated in the theft of $200,000 worth of lobsters taken from the wreckage of a tractor-trailer truck on Interstate 395 in July.

Arnold A. Villatico, 54, owner of Periwinkles & Giorgios Restaurant on Route 12, and Robert J. Moscoffian, 62, owner of Moscoffian Towing of 233 Old Webster Road, were released on personal recognizance at their arraignment. The men, who are friends, are charged with larceny over $250, conspiracy to commit larceny and unlicensed possession of shellfish. Their cases were continued to Dec. 11.

A Canadian tractor-trailer was hauling the six-ton load of lobsters southbound July 27 when it was involved in a multi-vehicle crash. The trailer was ripped open in the crash. Some of the lobsters were exposed to diesel fuel that spilled from the truck's tanks and the load was condemned by a Webster health official because of possible contamination and because the seafood had been out of refrigeration for several hours.

According to court documents, Mr. Moscoffian was told to dispose of the cargo, "maintain a list of disposed items, and hold the remainder of the cargo for the insurance company." A representative of the insurance company instructed Mr. Moscoffian to deliver the remaining cargo to Globe Fish Co. in Boston the next morning.

After the insurance company representative left the scene of the accident, police allege Mr. Villatico arrived at the crash scene and bags of fish were removed from the trailer and placed in Mr. Villatico's pickup truck. The police report said several other pickup trucks also arrived after that to remove cargo. The police report did not indicate who drove those vehicles.

At the accident scene, a refrigerated trailer arrived that Mr. Moscoffian had rented in which to store lobsters from the wrecked trailer.

The day after the crash, police got a tip that lobsters were being sold from that refrigerated truck. The truck was in the back parking lot at Mr. Villatico's restaurant.

Police and health officials seized lobsters from the restaurant and the truck. Some were being cooked in pots and some were in crates in the kitchen, The same week, a Worcester restaurant owner alerted police he believed he had purchased some of the lobsters and turned them over to police. The Worcester restaurant owner said Mr. Villatico told him he "overbought for a lobster festival."

Mr. Villatico, of 40 Westwind Drive, Webster, allegedly sold the restaurant 600 lobsters for $3,000 in cash, without a receipt, police said. Neither man had state permits that are required to sell seafood wholesale.

The day the truck was stopped by police on Route 12 in Auburn, just after leaving Periwinkles, the men told a reporter any money they got for the lobsters would be donated to the veterans' shelter in Worcester. A shelter spokesman said the pair was not authorized to collect donations on behalf of the shelter, nor had the shelter received any money from the pair.

Mr. Moscoffian has organized the popular New England Summer Nationals in Worcester. Mr. Villatico is a longtime restaurant owner in Oxford.

http://www.telegram.com/article/20081101/NEWS/811010334
 

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That haul makes the guys at the plant that were taking lobsters out of the intake/discharge pipes look like amateurs..
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Unsafe lobster incident drags on

Restaurant allegedly violated health code

By Gerard F. Russell TELEGRAM & GAZETTE STAFF
[email protected]

17 comments | Add a comment



Periwinkles & Giorgio's, shown yesterday, has not yet incurred any sanctions. (T&G Staff / DAN GOULD)

OXFORD - Despite being urged by the state weeks ago to sanction Periwinkles & Giorgio's Italian Pub & Restaurant for selling lobsters from a July truck crash and cooking the roadside catch for customers, the year will end with no ramifications for the restaurant.

Also, the two Oxford businessmen implicated in the case will apparently not face charges for selling the lobsters.

Oxford Town Manager Joseph M. Zeneski said earlier this month that the town's Board of Health would take up the matter before the end of December. However, the Board of Health has no plans to meet before the end of the year. Its next meeting is Jan. 5. None of the board members could be reached for comment yesterday.

In a November letter, a state Department of Public Health official said that he "strongly recommends" the local health board "suspend, revoke or refuse to renew the permit to operate a food establishment" because of the serious nature of the violations.

The restaurant is owned by Arnold A. Villatico Jr. of 40 Westwind Drive, Webster.

On July 28, state and Auburn police seized lobsters from a truck police stopped on Route 12 in Auburn. That was the day after the I-395 crash of a Canadian lobster truck in Webster. Some 13,000 pounds of lobster and seafood were onboard the rig. Lobsters were also seized from the restaurant. Police said they saw lobsters being sold from the truck in the restaurant's parking lot.

A state official said the restaurant failed to ensure that the lobster and fish were from approved sources and said that the seafood was not approved for sale under state law.

The letter from Michael J. Moore, of the state's Food Protection Program, said his recommendations were in response to the Oxford Board of Health's request for guidance on the matter. The letter noted the local board had discussed the issue in meetings Aug. 8 and Sept. 9.

Mr. Zeneski yesterday said he thinks the local board should act on the matter. However, he did not know when, or if, the board would take action. He said the board has sought advice from town counsel.

Crates of lobsters were seized from the restaurant a day after the crash. Some lobsters were seized from boiling pots. Since the July incident, Mr. Zeneski said, the Oxford health inspector doubled inspections of the restaurant. Oxford selectmen have already renewed other licenses that Periwinkles needs to operate. A common victualer's license was approved Dec. 2. That license was scheduled to expire Dec. 31. Its all-alcohol pouring license was also renewed. The food service license will expire in June, Mr. Malley said.

Criminal charges are pending in Dudley District Court against Mr. Villatico and Robert J. Moscoffian, owner of Moscoffian Towing of 233 Old Webster Road, Oxford. In October, the men pleaded not guilty to charges of larceny of more than $250, conspiracy to commit larceny and unlicensed possession of shellfish. It is alleged Mr. Moscoffian and his friend, Mr. Villatico, took lobsters from the accident scene even though Mr. Moscoffian was ordered to dispose of the cargo by a Webster health official who condemned the cargo.

Meanwhile, it appears both men will not face charges related to the sale of the lobsters. The Massachusetts Environmental Police had sought the charges in September.

The Environmental Police submitted an affidavit to the court with an Application for a Criminal Complaint saying Mr. Villatico and Mr. Moscoffian sold more than 600 lobsters to a Worcester restaurant for $3,000 in a cash deal. However, charges related to the sale of "unwholesome food" were deleted from the complaint, court documents show.

When asked about the decision not to prosecute the charge, Timothy J. Connolly, a spokesman for the office of Worcester District Attorney Joseph D. Early Jr., said in an e-mail last week that Assistant District Attorney Chris Hodgens told him, "The crossed out charges are immaterial. Environmental Police wrote up the application before we approved it. We decided against the charges related to contaminated food because it turned out that the lobsters were OK. When I told the officer this, he simply crossed it out. The charges as applied for and issued still stand."

It could not be learned yesterday how the district attorney's office determined the lobsters were "OK," given that the load was condemned by a Webster health official as " unsafe for human consumption," citing no refrigeration for several hours that summer day.

http://www.telegram.com/article/20081230/NEWS/812300563/1008/NEWSREWIND
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Police see something fishy in 1/2 price meals

Pub in Oxford allegedly sold condemned lobsters

By Megan Woolhouse

Globe Staff / January 3, 2009

There are many places to fish for lobster in Massachusetts, but Interstate 395 is not one of them.

DiscussCOMMENTS (24)

Just ask Arnold A. Villatico, police say.
The owner of Periwinkles & Giorgios Italian Pub and Restaurant in Oxford faces criminal charges of larceny over $250, conspiracy, and unlicensed possession of shellfish after dozens of condemned crustaceans from an overturned truck allegedly appeared on customers' dinner plates. Town manager Joseph M. Zeneski said Villatico must appear before the Board of Health Monday.
"The Board of Health wants to make it clear to him that this was a violation of public trust," Zeneski said this week, adding that "this whole thing has been a comedy, an absolute comedy."
The story is about more than contraband seafood. It is a tale of lobsters on a death-defying journey, one marred by tragedy and for some, redemption. First, thousands of lobsters onboard the overturned truck narrowly missed becoming road kill. And then, those that did not become two-for-one boiled lobster specials were rescued by state environmental police, who returned them to the sea.
Their journey began on July 27, when a tractor trailer carrying 11,000 pounds of fresh lobster from Canada crashed on I-395 in Webster. The wreck tore the refrigerated container carrying the lobsters and spewed 150 gallons of diesel fuel across the load and roadway, which was closed for 12 hours.
A Webster health inspector declared the toppled load unsalvageable. And although local health inspectors are required by the state to witness the destruction of condemned food, that never happened.
Then a lobster fest revved up in Oxford.
Villatico began selling lobsters from a refrigerated truck behind his restaurant, Zeneski said, and the restaurant reportedly offered $19.99 lobster specials. Police found crates of lobster inside the restaurant and plucked lobsters from boiling pots as evidence, the Worcester Telegram & Gazette reported.
"He had a sign out, two for one," Zeneski said in an interview.
Villatico, who lives in Webster, declined to comment on the allegations. He and Robert J. Moscoffian, owner of Moscoffian Towing in Oxford, have pleaded not guilty in Dudley District Court to larceny and other charges. The Worcester newspaper also reported that both men said they had planned to donate the lobsters to a veterans' shelter, although shelter officials said they had no knowledge of such a plan.
There were no reports of illness associated with the lobsters, and Villatico's restaurant remains open. Suzanne Condon, state director of environmental health, said lobsters' exposure to summer sun, heat, and fuel can lead to many health risks. State health officials advised the Oxford Board of Health in a Nov. 17 letter to penalize Villatico by suspending or revoking his restaurant license because of the "serious nature of these violations."
"There's all sorts of things that can get in a food product once it's released," Condon said. "You have to err on the side of public health."
And as for the surviving lobsters? State environmental police viewed them not as a delicacy or a threat, but as an animal far from home. Approximately 2,070 surviving lobsters were loaded and transported to Boston. Then officers hauled them onto a boat and released them just outside Boston Harbor, a half mile east of the North Channel buoy.
And to ensure a happy ending, officials said they unbanded their claws first.

http://www.boston.com/news/local/ma...police_see_something_fishy_in_12_price_meals/
 
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