PINE BUSH — The great Pine Bush pizza caper has apparently been solved, police say — and the result is spicy.
State police have arrested one prominent business owner and plan to arrest another man, saying they loaded a pizza with hot sauce and tried to injure two local activists at a Pine Bush school board meeting.
Frank Gaudio, who owns the Villa Gaudio in Bullville, was arrested Tuesday and accused of baking the pie. Joe Zankl, a former Pine Bush school board member who has tangled with apparent hot sauce targets Connie Squillace and Patti Brown, will be arrested Wednesday and accused of ordering the pizza, sources say. The charges are felonies: assault and tampering with a consumer product, Senior Investigator Brian Meier said. A minimum of one year in jail is possible.
"The pizza was baked to incur a lot of heat," Meier said. "The investigation revealed it was ordered by someone with special instructions on how to make it hot."
The arrests come after a dogged quest to get to the source of the hot sauce by Squillace and Brown, who videotaped Pine Bush school board meetings over Zankl's objections. Zankl also blames the women in part for his defeat for re-election to the school board last July.
The women's detective work began six months ago, on a cold December night, right after two cheese pizzas mysteriously arrived at a board meeting in the high school cafeteria. A note written on a computer was addressed to Squillace. "Don't eat these pizzas all at once," it said in an apparent reference to Squillace's weight.
She didn't bite. Brown did.
"And the victim received chemical burns," Meier said.