Everyone’ loves pizza, but not everyone thinks about the personal history of the person serving it to them. The Guardian reports that Edgardo Greco, 63, was recently apprehended in Saint-Etienne, France, where he had been working as a pizzaiolo and restaurant owner. Greco, it turns out, had long been suspected of involvement with a notoriously violent mafia organization called ’Ndrangheta, and had been previously convicted of the 1991 murder of two brothers. Pizza was just a way to keep a low profile.
Greco escaped Italian custody in 2006 and ended up settling in Saint-Etienne under the name Paolo Dimitrio. Even prison escapees need steady income, so he ended up working as a pizza maker and eventually opened his own shop called Caffe Rossini Ristorante. Greco was apparently so confident in his ironclad secret identity that he even allowed himself to be featured in a local newspaper in 2021, in an article highlighting his cooking.
Though Greco was supposed to serve a life sentence for murder, he managed to escape custody for 16 whole years by creating false documents faking an illness, which meant he couldn’t be taken in and thus had a window to escape. It’s safe to say that between 2006 and 2022 he undoubtedly slung a lot of pies—and this is far from the first time we’ve seen crime intersect with pizza.
Pizza, because it’s so universally beloved, ends up making an appearance in all sorts of crimes. In 2018, a disgruntled pizza cook was arrested in North Carolina for sneaking rat poison into the shredded cheese. Then there was the 2021 case of a customer driving at speeds up to 114 miles per hour to get home before his pizza cooled off. And in 2019, a Naples pizzeria was bombed in an incident believed to be retribution by the mob after the owner refused to do business with them.
I’m a former pizzamaker, and though I’ve seen some pretty rough things, like one coworker punching another in the face during a shift—which isn’t fun, by the way—I don’t think I’ve ever made pizza alongside a mafia hitman living a double life. Never say never, I guess.