Rats Grab a Slice in Chelsea

Cell phone video shows rats inside Chelsea pizza truck

By Tom Llamas
|  Saturday, Oct 10, 2009  |  Updated 2:16 AM EDT
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Rats Grab a Slice in Chelsea

NBC New York

This pizza truck in Chelsea may have some unwanted toppings...

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Rats Grab a Slice in Chelsea

Tipsters sent NBC New York video that shows a sickening sight in one of the hippest neighborhoods.
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If you find yourself stumbling out of the Pink Elephant nightclub or Scores Gentleman's club in Chelsea late at night, you may want to think twice before grabbing a slice from the red pizza truck parked outside those hotspots.

Cell phone video obtained by NBC New York shows rats running from the Vinny Vincenz Pizza Truck. What's worse, a closer looks shows rats inside of the truck jumping on coolers and helping themselves to a pizza pie.

"What happens if my family goes in there and buys some pizza and they get poisoned?,"asked JD who works near the truck, and said the rodents are some of truck's best customers.

The cell phone video was shot by people who also work near the pizzeria on wheels, which stays parked on 27th street between 10th and 11th Avenues -- right in front of the Pink Elephant, which just last week hosted celebrity couple Mariah Carey and Nick Cannon.

"He shouldn't be out here selling that," said a man who identified himself only as Reggie but admitted to eating the pizza in the past. "It's a dangerous part to the health of the people, out here selling rat pizza."

We contacted the owner of the truck and within 30 minutes Salvatore Olivella sat down with us to watch the video.

As we pointed out the four-legged cheese worshipers to Olivella he didn't deny the rats were in his truck,  but he did say the pizzas they ate were leftovers from previous night. 

"This guy forgot to throw away the pizza from yesterday my mistake," said Olivella, who owns four other pizza trucks and pizzeria in the East Village.

But the folks who shot the cell phone video claim the truck operator kept selling slices, at $5 a pop, even after the rats had their pizza party.

"At 700 degrees you kill everything when it comes out you don't touch it anymore," said Olivella.

The Department of Health said they were looking into the matter.

According to Olivella, the pizza trucks get sanitized daily with bleach, but he eventually replaced the truck that had rats with a new one. He also said he would now park the truck overnight in a garage or a lot instead of leaving it on the street.

"I'm not parking here anymore in the night," said Olivella.   "This block is full of rats."

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