Pizza Crusade: Domino’s Managers Charged With Burning Down Rival Papa John’s Store

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Competition can be piping hot, especially in the cutthroat world of pizza chains.

To increase business, some use coupons, and others try clever marketing schemes. The most devious just burn their rival to the ground. Two Domino’s managers are facing arson charges after allegedly torching a nearby Papa John’s.

When the store went up in flames on Oct. 20, the cause was no faulty oven or grease fire – it was quickly ruled to be arson. And this whodunit ended with unexpected culprits: the town’s other pizza guys. Police have arrested two employees of the Lake City, Fla. Domino’s on charges that they burnt down the Papa John’s.

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According to the Ocala Star-Banner, Manager Bryan Sullivan, 22, thought that Domino’s business would increase if the Papa John’s were put out of business. But just how far they went to make that happen is quite unfathomable. He recruited fellow manager Sean Davidson, 23, to help. Both have been arrested on arson charges, and Davidson has since confessed.

The Papa John’s was completely gutted, and after the ashes stopped smoldering, police reportedly received tips from Domino’s employees alerting them of the scheme. While the two managers have been arrested, this case is not yet closed. Police are still looking for the unused ignition device, which the men say they tossed on the side of Interstate 75.

The incident casts light on the perils of the pizza business, but it’s doubtful this will hurt Domino’s sales. After all, Domino’s is famed for its self-deprecating attitude. A lauded advertising campaign in 2010 asked consumers to give the chain another chance after years of poor reviews on their pizza. The same attitude could work wonders. And if they do notice slow sales this time around, may we suggest a fire sale? (What, too soon?)

Nick Carbone is a reporter at TIME. Find him on Twitter at @nickcarbone. You can also continue the discussion on TIME’s Facebook page and on Twitter at @TIME.

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