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Angry man fights back at store with baseball bat

Published Oct. 6, 2005

A 64-year-old man with a grievance against Food Lion walked into the supermarket Thursday and wreaked havoc with a baseball bat.

Frank Caligiuri started with the peanuts in the produce section and did more than $250 in damage before sheriff's deputies arrived and told him to put down the aluminum bat, authorities said.

Caligiuri did particular damage to mayonnaise jars.

"I had just been so aggravated over the whole thing," he told the Times on Friday. "It just kept boiling up and boiling up and boiling up."

Caligiuri said he injured his back in October when he slipped on a wet floor at the Food Lion at Northcliffe Boulevard and U.S. 19. Since then, he has been trying to get the company to pay for $1,200 in medical bills, he said.

He wrote letters. He made phone calls. He explained he was on a fixed income. The company investigated the claim and decided it was without merit.

A company spokesman said Friday that the floor was not wet where Caligiuri slipped and that his slick-soled shoes were probably part of the problem.

"After investigating the accident, our folks said all precautions had been taken on our part and that the company really had no liability in this case," said spokesman Mike Mozingo at Food Lion headquarters in Salisbury, N.C.

Mozingo said it was the first time he could think of that a customer had attacked food with a bat.

"It looks like the victim in this case was the mayonnaise," he said.

Despite the company's position, Caligiuri insists the store was at fault for his October fall. He went to HCA/Oak Hill Hospital that day and has visited chiropractors since. The pain became so bad and the unpaid bills so aggravating that Caligiuri decided to take matters into his own hands.

He walked into the store between 7 and 8 p.m. Thursday.

He explained to employees and customers that he was not there to hurt anyone. "I said, "Look, I ain't got nothing against you. They don't want to pay my bills.' And I went with the baseball bat," he told the Times. According to the Sheriff's Office, he also said he planned to break $1,200 worth of merchandise.

Among the casualties: $5.50 in sugar bags; 14 bottles of Pantene shampoo, valued at $41.86; 28 cans of Campbell's soup; 24 bottles of mayonnaise, worth $35.76; and a staggering 252 candy bars.

A trespass warning was issued against Caligiuri. The store can press charges.