Detroit pizzeria owner paints handicap parking zone after customers get $150 tickets

Tony Sacco says he noticed more people getting tickets, confused about parking spaces

Pizzeria owner 'fixes' parking issue in Downtown Detroit

DETROIT – Tony Sacco, co-owner of Mootz Pizzeria + Bar in Downtown Detroit, decided to take action after he became concerned with the parking situation in front of his business.

“I actually started noticing it after I got a ticket because I was confused myself,” he said. “I started noticing more and more people are getting tickets.”

Sacco felt the area for disability parking was deceiving.

“One sign and four spots. There’s no markings anywhere on the street,” he said. “I mentioned it to the people writing the tickets. I said, ‘People don’t understand this is handicapped,’ and they said ‘That’s their problem. They should read the sign.’ That was the attitude.”

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Sacco said he tried calling the City of Detroit but didn’t get anywhere.

“People come to Detroit, try to support our city and walk away with a $150 ticket, and they feel like they were tricked into it and they kind of were tricked into it,” he said.

Then a woman and her kids getting ice cream got a ticket and he said he had enough. He paid for her ticket and a few more for some customers.

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“When I saw that single mother with the kids get that ticket, I said ‘This is it man.’ I was talking to my buddy sitting with me and I said ‘We’re going to go buy some blue paint.’ And we did,” Sacco said.

On Tuesday, after one more ticket and the rain holding off, he got the paint and made it clear which spaces are for those with a disability.

“The guy who wrote the last ticket came back by and he’s looking at me paint and he said, ‘You were really serious weren’t you?’ I said absolutely,” he said.

“I know now that nobody’s going to park there and get a ticket, that doesn’t deserve a ticket. Now if they park there, they deserve it.”

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Jason is Local 4’s utility infielder. In addition to anchoring the morning newscast, he often reports on a variety of stories from the tragic, like the shootings at Michigan State, to the off-beat, like great gas station food.