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'Pizza Nazi' Cut Hole in Wall of Former Restaurant to Take Oven, DA Says

By  Katie Honan and Nicole Bode | January 6, 2017 4:04pm | Updated on January 9, 2017 8:50am

 Whitney Aycock enlisted a friend and a forklift to take a pizza oven from his former restaurant, Whit's End Pizza, on Nov. 1, 2016, prosecutors say.
Whitney Aycock enlisted a friend and a forklift to take a pizza oven from his former restaurant, Whit's End Pizza, on Nov. 1, 2016, prosecutors say.
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DNAinfo/Katie Honan

​ROCKAWAY BEACH — This pizza war is heating up.

The self-described "Pizza Nazi" who was busted last summer for growing pot in his backyard — and telling police it was lemon verbena and catnip — was arrested in December after he cut a hole in the wall of his former restaurant to take its pizza oven, officials said.

Whitney Aycock, 43, and a friend cut a window out of a wall of the former Whit's End Pizza on Rockaway Beach Boulevard near Beach 97th Street on Nov. 1, 2016, police said.

The pair then loaded the eatery's massive Stefano Ferrara Neopolitan-style oven on to a forklift through the hole, and on to a flatbed truck outside, according to a criminal complaint.

A manager of the former Playland restaurant and motel, which leased space out to Whit's End, discovered the hole and the missing pizza oven on Nov. 2, police said.

Video surveillance showed Aycock and his friend enter the restaurant, but the camera was quickly covered up once the pair were inside, according to the building's owner and police.

Aycock was arrested on Dec. 13 and charged with criminal mischief. His friend, whose name DNAinfo New York is withholding because he was not charged, told police Aycock asked him to help relocate the pizza oven.

Jamie Wiseman, the owner of Cayuga Capital which bought the building in 2012, said the oven, valued at around $15,000, never belonged to Aycock.

"It was not his oven, it was never his oven," he told DNAinfo. 

"We purchased and supplied that oven and provided evidence of that to police."

They also said the incident cost $250 in damage to the wall.

The District Attorney would not comment on whether they planned to charge him with grand larceny.

Aycock closed his beloved pizza restaurant in August 2016 after he was arrested for charges including marijuana possession after police found he was growing it in Playland Motel's backyard. 

He pleaded guilty to the pot possession charge in December, according to the Queens District Attorney's office.

He shifted focus to a new pizza joint at the Riis Park Bazaar, which he opened this summer with a separate oven. He also has a bay-front restaurant in Arverne called Ole Man Chill.

It's not immediately clear where the missing pizza oven is.

His lawyer, Joseph Mure, Jr., denied his client did anything wrong and said the oven belongs to Aycock.

"When he rented this piece of property it had absolutely nothing in it, and all the equipment that he moved in that place belonged to him," he said.

Wiseman filed a civil suit against Aycock in September to regain access to Whit's End, and the items inside, court records show. 

On Jan. 4, a judge ruled in Wiseman's favor, saying the oven and the other items in the space were his, according to court records.

Wiseman opened Playland Motel in 2013 after a massive renovation, then in the fall began renting the space to the Department of Homeless Services to provide rooms to homeless residents. The rooms were never used and the entire building was shut down on Oct. 31, 2016, according to officials. The space has been vacant since.

Wiseman said he struggled in Rockaway Beach due to constant city enforcement and a quiet winter season.

"Rockaway as a whole has a lot of promise," he said. "I'm just probably not the right guy to operate it."