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At Five Star Pizza, A Confrontation With A Dissatisfied Customer Ends With a Gun

| December 23, 2015

five star pizza gun

Five Star Pizza is in the Winn Dixie shopping center off Palm Coast Parkway. (© FlaglerLive)

Tammy Bouie wasn’t happy with the delivery she got from Five Star Pizza. She thought it was cold. She protested by phone then in person at the Five Star store in the Winn Dixie shopping center off Palm Coast Parkway. By the time it was over, Denis Gotlib, the store owner and manager, faced a criminal charge for pulling out a gun and briefly pointing it at Bouie as the two argued and she refused to leave the store. Gotlib had actually called 911 to report that Bouie would not leave his store.


Bouie told police she bought a pizza and other items the evening of Dec. 19 and had them delivered to her home on Riveria Estates Drive in Palm Coast, but that she and her family were dissatisfied with the quality of the pizza: it was burnt and cold, according to the account related in a police report. She called Five Star and requested a refund. An employee told her not eat any more of the pizza and to bring it back to the store for the refund. But moments later she says the manager called and told her there’d be no refund “because she would not be satisfied,” the report states, and he hung up the phone.

Bouie then headed to Five Star with what remained of the pizza: half of it had been consumed. She entered the business with her daughter and placed the pizza on the counter. She and Gotlib talked. She claims Gotlib was rude, refused her a refund, and allegedly became aggressive, asking her to leave and yelling at her.

Bouie, according to the report, “then explained as she was standing at the counter, the manager reached down to his right side waistband and pulled out what she thought was a stun gun but looked similar to a firearm. [Gotlib] continued to yell at her according to [Bouie] while holding the weapon down to his side, saying he has a right to defend his business.” By then Gotlib was on the phone to 911.

In his account to a sheriff’s deputy, Gotlib said his driver assured him the pizza was hot when it had been delivered, and that he wasn’t going to refund the cost of a half-eaten pizza. He told her several times to leave. She wouldn’t. Gotlib said “he slightly pulled up his shirt to show her he had a concealed firearm,” according to his account to deputies.

Gotlib “was hesitant to allow us to review the video surveillance footage of the incident but then agreed to allow us to review it,” the report states. Gotlib “explained he was only protecting his business and that he felt that if the female saw he had a weapon that she may comply and leave the business.”

Deputies  were able to review the video at the store but not get a copy. The video showed the incident much as the Bouie and Gotlib described it, with slight differences. As the two appear to be either talking or arguing with each other, Gotlib is on the phone, and Bouie “is seen just standing on the customer side of the counter, also holding her phone but does not appear to be saying anything or doing anything.” Then at one point Gotlib “appears to reach for the side of his person as if he wants to grab something. As [Gotlib] is on the phone, he is observed reaching to his right side and un-holsters the firearm and quickly raises it in an upward angle, then quickly points it down towards the ground. On the video though it shows as [Gotlib] pulls the gun out and raises it, the point of the gun appears to cross the face area of the female for a brief second as she is standing there, then back towards the floor.”

Bouie—who in 2014 faced a felony child abuse charge, which was then reduced to a misdemeanor charge of contributing to the delinquency of a child, then dropped—said the incident happened so quick she thought the weapon was a stun gun that looked like a Glock. Bouie, the report states, “was just standing there, not doing anything malicious or threatening.”

Gotlib said he was “not in fear but thought he had a right to stand his ground because the female was refusing to leave,” the report states. Gotlib “never intentionally pointed the gun at the female but as a result of being careless and angry and not in necessary self-defense in front of a person commits a crime of improper exhibition of a dangerous weapon or firearm.”

Deputies determined a crime occurred but “not in the presence of a Law Enforcement so no physical arrest was made,” the report states—an odd distinction, as arrests are routinely made based on crimes determined to have happened, whether in the presence of police or not. A charging affidavit was completed and forwarded to the State Attorney’s Office for review. The State Attorney will determine whether to pursue the charge.

The firearm, a Glock 19 model, was confiscated and submitted into evidence. Gotlib was not able to operate the video surveillance system to provide deputies with a copy, but said he’d obtain a DVD.

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72 Responses for “At Five Star Pizza, A Confrontation With A Dissatisfied Customer Ends With a Gun”

  1. Trista says:

    Sure seems like Denis Gotlib got a “hook up” from the sherrifs office. I bet police deputies get free pizza from this Five Star location.

  2. Dan Priotti says:

    A business owner protecting his business and showing a gun to scare the customer into leaving. What’s wrong with that?

    • Nothing wrong with protecting your business, BUT pulling out a gun without a proper reason is uncalled for.

      Only pull your gun out if your life is being threatened.

    • Dan Priotti says:

      Jenny I am a business owner gun owner and veteran, if a hostile customer comes into my business and I ask them to leave and they do not leave and carry on like a lunitic I have every right to pull out my weapon and show I am standing my ground.

    • Jenny Gyde says:

      Dan, thank you for your service. I still feel you need to re-educate yourself on the law. You don’t draw a gun to scare. You draw a gun to protect where there is threat. Otherwise law enforcement handles the nonsense.

  3. Rich Mikola says:

    This is too stupid to be true! What kind of moron would pull a handgun on a woman over a cold pizza?

  4. Tom Hickey says:

    I like Pie but will not Die for it lmao , sad

  5. Breadstick says:

    Five star usually has decent food that is always brought to me hot and ready to eat. They are the fastest in town but they aren’t the friendliest when it comes to management. I’ve had my run ins with them in the past but as long as I stay out of the store I usually don’t have a problem with them. That being said, they definitely lack professionalism and tact when it comes to handling dissatisfied customers. They refuse to admit that it’s their fault when they mess up your order or bring you cold food. But that doesn’t mean they should resort to threatening tactics or violence no matter the circumstances. Since the manager decided to act inappropriately, their business will now suffer and continue to decline because of ongoing grievances with customers since they opened here in Palm Coast. Regardless of what the women’s beef was with the store at feel that he could have handled the situation much better instead of flashing his piece to an unarmed woman. Giving us gun owners a bad rep.

    Extra cheese please and a side of marinara!

  6. Wow did not expect him to carry a gun. He’s so laid back very chill guy. Always two sides to the story

  7. justice says:

    This buisness should be removed immediately, workers pulling guns on customers, I don’t care how she was complaining, what an outrage. And what a lil wussy Gotlib must be I swear he is the biggest wimp I’ve ever heard of. So what if she had an open carry license? Would he have shot her?

  8. Geezer says:

    Customer service – Palm Coast style. The customer is always wrong.
    Before you order pizza from 5-Star, take a peek into the store.
    You’ll end up eating something else.

    The owner has a history of child abuse and he’s free to carry a gun.
    I hope that everybody in Flagler County reads this article.
    He unlawfully displayed his gun to gain leverage in an argument.
    This is discussed in the rulebook you receive when you get your new carry permit.

    Next time a customer isn’t happy, just offer another pie or a refund, not a bullet.

    And we thought Goombah’s was bad…….at least he wasn’t a child abuser!

    ?????????? WTF

  9. AceDeadEyeJohnson says:

    If Mr.Gotlib has ever actually taken an NRA certified pistol course one of the first things he would have learned is “Never Display A Firearm To Gain Leverage In An Argument Regardless If Its Loaded Or Not” if your going to carry a leagaly concealed firearm know the Florida state statutes in concealed carry…

  10. Roskoe Ruta says:

    In some from brandishing a weapon at someone is wrong on some levels, but when the owner asks you to leave you go. Take your dollar else were like Mezzalunas

  11. Customers can be a pain in the butt over what is essentially a first world problem, but brandishing a gun?

  12. Refund the pizza and get over it! Smh.

  13. The owner had NO business pulling a gun. A responsible gun owner would not have done that. He was not in danger. He called the police and should have waited for them. Btw, if a customer is not happy with the product you give them their refund. Plain and simple. It sounds like the owner needs some customer service skills, anger management counseling and should not have a gun until he learns how to properly use it. Very sad situation over a pizza.

  14. You don’t pull a deadly weapon unless you are planning to pull the trigger. No need to scare her, just call the police instead. My god I don’t care what an ass this women was or is as a small business owner my self I would have made her a free pizza. These are two very ignorant people in my opinion. We Jaber men and women over seas fighting for our freedom. My god people work it out

  15. Deputies determined a crime occurred but “not in the presence of a Law Enforcement so no physical arrest was made,” the report states—an odd distinction, as arrests are routinely made based on crimes determined to have happened

    Lmao.

  16. The customer ate half the pizza, then determined it was cold ??

    • And how was his business or property being threatened?

    • Ramsey Andre says:

      Yeah but David B. Hayes, he gives RESPONSIBLE gun owners a bad name. I’m sure if she was an actual threat to his life, they would have mentioned that in the story. Surely if he felt his life was threatened, that would have been visible in the surveillance footage. If she was just being crazy and refusing to leave, call the police, let them do their job, and leave it at that. No need to pull a gun

    • Sandra Davis says:

      They have a right when they feel their life is being threatened. If she was agressive and coming at him instead of calmly waiting for the police to come..then you’d be correct. He had no right brandishing a gun when no threat was present.

    • TRESSPASSING. Once the proprietor told the customer to leave the premises, and she refused, she was tresspassing. Legal grounds for the proprietor to protect business, self, and employees.

    • A reasonable customer would have vacated the premises as instructed by the proprietor, and then called the authorities. This customer tried to take the matters into her hands, and intimidate the proprietor. So obviously the proprietor did not no what this customer state of mind was or her intended actions.

  17. Freddy says:

    Idiots should not be allowed to own firearms. Refusing a refund for a half eaten pizza does not call for the use of a firearm. This guy has lost more business after this publicity than he would have by giving the customer a refund. I for one would not patronize that business even with free pizza. Stupid !!!

  18. I won’t be going there for pizza. I don’t like guns with my pizza.

  19. Donna Heiss says:

    Have people lost their minds? As a business owner, I would have refunded an unsatisfied customer, however, if I felt threatened, I would think I have the right to protect myself.

  20. Robjr says:

    Deputies determined a crime occurred but “not in the presence of a Law Enforcement so no physical arrest was made,” the report states.

    Is there another type of arrest other than physical? Do they mean virtual arrest, with virtual handcuffs, go to virtual jail and pay virtual bond until your virtual appearance in virtual court. So if I rob a bank and these deputies are called and they see me standing around they don’t make a “physical arrest” because the crime was not committed in the presence of law enforcement.

    This stupidity should be free taxpayers shouldn’t have to pay for it.

  21. Anonymous says:

    Another two fine palm Coast specimens. And proof that pizza is not brain food.

  22. Suddenly I feel like a calzone

  23. Barry Hartmann says:

    I am now done with five star pizza. I let a lot of things slide, cold pizza, rude employees, rumors about the kitchen but this is the last straw!

  24. Scott Stacy says:

    Five- Star pizza has always provided excellent pizza. It is always fast delivery and hot. We have had a problem , maybe twice. Wrong toppings or something like that. They quickly made and delivered a new pizza at no charge. No disputing our claim. No argument. The pizza is damn good. We don’t order from the big “chain” places anymore. The delivery drivers are always cool, too, as well as the folks who take our order. I don’t know anything about this situation, or it’s validity. We’ve always been treated well.They even sent us coupons for free pizza, at Christmas, for being good customers.
    That’s my “two cents’.

  25. Nancy N. says:

    When did this happen? There’s no indication in the article.

  26. sunshine says:

    5-Star has lost my business!!

  27. edith_campins@bellsouth.net says:

    This is what happens when everybody has guns.

    By the way Geezer you got the story wrong.

  28. Veteran says:

    Really. Pulling a gun on a woman. Should be arrested for being a pussy!

  29. Mothers Worry says:

    Please pull his Concealed Carry Permit!! Idiots like this give the rest of us a bad name.

  30. The Geode says:

    I hope EVERYBODY boycotts this crazy prick’s business. A wanna-be tough guy who draws firearms on customers shouldn’t interact with customers. However, this lady is just as big of a prick to drive 30 minutes WITH her daughter to prove how “I don’t take no shit from anybody and I’m going to ruin my day and negatively influence my daughter to do so”. Obviously, the pizza was good enough to eat HALF of it. It would have been easier to put the other half in the oven and reheat it….

  31. Mike says:

    I can’t resist…. This sounds more like 1 star pizza…

  32. Diana L. says:

    I was ready to see people defending his actions on these comments since some people are on the Facebook page. So I am happy that people aren’t here. It makes so sense to escalate a situation with firearm intimidation. The owner should go through some customer service training, anger management counseling and some firearm training or perhaps refrain from carrying until he gets a handle on his anger. Thank God no one was hurt. Unless a customer frequently complains, refund her money or make a new pizza. Just very stupid and dangerous.

  33. groot says:

    Welcome to Palm Coast! Trashy, totally trashy on both ends but there is no excuse for him to pull a gun. Stay classy people, stay classy! A half eaten pizza pie and a Glock? Citizens indicted for felonies? Dorothy, this ain’t Kansas and that’s for sure. It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

  34. trixie t says:

    Why in the world would a business close from a bad decision of an employee.Owner or not. Jobs are so scarce in this town. All the employees shouldnt suffer from the moves of someone else. This world is full of instances were everyone suffers from a someone else doing something stupid! We have never had a bad experience from 5 Star. All the delivery people have always been super nice and most of the time the pizza seems like it’s delivered before you end your phone call.

  35. Scoobydoo says:

    Nothing like customer satisfaction!!

  36. Turvy50 says:

    Too many other delicious pizza options in this town to EVER darken the door of this establishment. Unprofessional business practices such as this will very possibly and should translate into it’s demise. Violence and/or threats are NEVER a solution. Why would ANYONE subject themselves to this? I surely wouldn’t.

  37. yellowstone says:

    To my recollection – this the second incident involving a store owner/manager that got into a Customer’s face and threaten them.

    The last was at a nearby Italian (or Pizza) place. That guy was an ex-felon and was promptly put away for owning a firearm.

    This incident will cause irreparable harm to this business – and over what? A $10 Pizza!!

    What ever happened to, “The Customer is always right, even when he is wrong!”?

  38. THE VOICE OF REASON says:

    He was wrong to pull the gun, but right to refuse the refund.

    She and her friends/family ate half the damn pizza before realizing it was cold? I don’t think so.

  39. Howard Duley says:

    The best pizza in Palm Coast is at Walmart down by the deli on the left wall as you approach the deli.

  40. Knightwatch says:

    Welcome to Floriduh where armed citizens are empowered by some of this country’s most aggressive pro-gun legislators and laws. This kind of thing will happen more often until we have OK Corral-like shootouts in the streets.

    Insanity prevails.

  41. Samuel L. Bronkowitz says:

    Ok, so let me get this right. This dumbass BRANDISHED and admitted as much to the police? What about 790.10?

    “Improper exhibition of dangerous weapons or firearms.—If any person having or carrying any dirk, sword, sword cane, firearm, electric weapon or device, or other weapon shall, in the presence of one or more persons, exhibit the same in a rude, careless, angry, or threatening manner, not in necessary self-defense, the person so offending shall be guilty of a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.”

    Lemme guess. the officers involved either personally know the owner, or the owner is a friend of other officers and they know it. That’s been my FCSO experience; if they’re friends then nothing is going to happen and you’re going to be treated like shit in the process because you’re messing with someone’s friend, regardless of the incident.

  42. dave says:

    Its time for Denis Gotlib to give up a lot of business. Pulling a gun on a customer with a child present is pretty much boarder line ignorant. He needs to be charged with something. Don’t go there people there is an idiot present.

  43. PJ says:

    Burnt pizza not hot?

    A stun gun vs. crazed customer? Huh

    Stupid manager “Priceless”

  44. Literate says:

    Reading the comments on here cracks me up sometimes. Most of the people making comments didnt read the entire article or dont understand half of what they read. “The owner has a history of child abuse and he’s free to carry a gun. I hope that everybody in Flagler County reads this article.” this was my favorite comment seeing how the child abuse was about the woman and was also dropped, nothing to do with the owner lol.

  45. Christine says:

    What is it about pizza places and guns in Palm Coast? This sounds oddly familiar. I sure won’t be going to this place.

  46. Anonymous says:

    This WHOLE thing is rediculous! I do want to point out the FACT that the customers past charges were brought up. It makes no sense and has ABSOLUTELY nothing to do with the incident. The FACT that the charges were dropped makes it more perplexing that it was even mentioned in the first place.

    On the other hand, it’s OBVIOUS that the Sherrifs Dept. is doing him a BIG favor. I guess free pizza goes a LONG way nowadays.

    I AGREE with the previous comments on the incident itself. I decided LONG ago not to do business with this establishment after rude an unsatisfactory service. I knew that one day the business owner/manager would do something to completely damage their reputation/business. Just never thought it would be something this despicable. Everyone reveals their true selves in time.

    The remaining pizza store owners here in Palm Coast are rejoicing right now. I guess maxing out credit cards to open his business was one thing, knowing how to treat your customers is another ball game entirely.

    Couple lessons learned from this incident, do favors for cops, they do favors for you CHECK!! Any skeletons in your closet, stay away from confrontations that can end up involving law inforcement CHECK!! Live in Palm Coast, stay to yourself or have your ENTIRE name and place of residence in the news CHECK!! LMAO😂😂😂

  47. Billy Bob says:

    More businesses need to look at Amazon’s customer satisfaction policy. Free return shipping, no questions asked. If you don’t like the item you buy you get 100% of your money back. Is one pizza really worth all the drama? Even if the customer is impossible to deal with isn’t that even more reason to give them a full refund so you can move on? You can’t please all of the people all of the time. Sometimes you have to take one for the team. You don’t always have to be right.

    That said, I love 5 star pizza and hope I never get a cold burnt one. If I did I’d certainly expect a remake or at least a full credit toward my next order. If the lady drove the half pizza all the way back to the store she must really have been dissatisfied.

    Even business owners can have a bad day. I’m sure he would handle it differently in retrospect. I don’t think his actions should be viewed as criminal. Bad judgement all the way. He should offer the lady an apology and a food credit. This isn’t another Goomba’s Pizzeria I hope.

  48. Joe says:

    There will always be idiot customers and some people that you will NEVER please but that being said just give the woman her refund and go on with business. Sometimes you just have to bite the bullet.

  49. Mr says:

    Dont blame the obvious out of control customers blame the ower manager for poor judgement it could have been a cup of hot water or stick or rock but somehow if its a gun then bi polar no self cpntrol child like behavior is OK CONDUCT YOURSELF LIKE A REDPONSIBLE CITIZEN!its not brain surgery its Pizza

  50. Janaye Lawson says:

    This is horrible, and I would boycott the damn place. We have a very large family. If this had happened to us and it has in the past, food wasn’t even asked for, new stuff was just delivered and not charged for. It didn’t meantioned how many people were in her family, BUT you get what, 8-10 slices a pizza? We have ten people in our family so there would not be anything to return. If we don’t like something, we don’t eat it and ask for a new one, we just don’t eat it. Anyways, what the hell does an old charge against this lady have to do with the pizza complaint, that was totally wrong for adding that, FLAGLER LIVE. And anyone with a concealed weapon, raising their shirt, etc to display a gun, is a THREAT to her…IF I were her I would sue his ass for threatening me and my child. The police should have arrested him, they saw it on the film, she told them he did it, how would she know he had a gun if he hadn’t displayed it…. There has to be a lawyer in that damn town to help that lady make this guy pay for his stupidity!! Idiots, like this one, give gun owners a bad name!! Hope someone helps you with this Ms Bouie!!! Hey, Gotlib, ever heard “The customer is always right?” Whether they are or not…you might end up losing your business, I sure as hell won’t buy from you when we’re in town!!

  51. Frozen says:

    Just buy a good quality frozen pizza at your local grocery store. Fast food pizza franchises are so overpriced these days ($12 average).

  52. Bc says:

    Let’s hope this idiot looses his gun permit for life. If he would pull his gun out over a cold pie on a woman think what he might to in a fender bender

  53. JimB says:

    The owner was pretty stupid brandishing his weapon. A black eye for all of us who carry legally and KNOW the laws.
    I think I foresee a huge “Closed” sign on that store in the near future.

  54. Tony says:

    This shows you how stupid the manager is. If this lady had a cwp she could have shot him as I am sure she feared for her life! What I would like to know did the manager have a cwp if not he was in violation of the law being he had it on his person. I agree with trista, I bet the fcso gets one hell of a deal on their pizza. If this is a five star pizza place I do not want to see what a one star place would be !!

  55. Jon Dopp says:

    Regarding the deputies and the alleged “favor” they did the owner:

    The crime committed here is a misdemeanor, as referenced earlier by Mr Bronkowitz. For an officer to make an arrest on a misdemeanor charge, it must have occurred in his presence OR there must be a warrant issued by a judge UNLESS the charge is a “misdemeanor exception.” There are roughly 20 of these exceptions last time I checked. If it’s not on that list, an arrest cannot be made unless the officers witnessed the crime. A “physical arrest” is an actual arrest and transport to jail; opposed to a “paper arrest,” in which the offender is charged and sent home to await a court date to be issued. A paper arrest must occur if the misdemeanor is not an exception.

    No favors done here, just good, legal practices being employed by the deputies involved.

  56. Anal says:

    There are a lot of this going on nowadays!

  57. Trumpster says:

    I will be buying dozens of pies from this establishment when I come to Palm Coast. The owner is my type of guy. Stand your ground and. Vote for me, a Glock in every house and a free pie in e very pot! We will end this PC bullshit and Make America Great Again, lock and load.

  58. Anonymous says:

    Great customer relations and publicity for this pizza shop????? All over what $15????

  59. Geezer says:

    In response to “Frozen”

    Make the pizza from scratch.

    Ingredients: High Gluten flour (not all-purpose), part-skim mozzarella,
    pizza sauce (jar or home-made), a pizza stone or terracotta tiles for
    your oven. America’s Test Kitchens has a great recipe.
    Seek and ye shall find.

    The key ingredient which is absent from take-out is LOVE.

    Frozen pizza = crapola. Anybody can cook – all you need is the desire!
    I hate take-out food. I only trust food made at home. I worked in the food
    and beverage industry too long to not have learned my lesson.

    And if you love famous take-out food like KFC and Outback – check out
    Todd Wilbur’s cookbooks.

    Bon appétit.

  60. Bc says:

    Tony no cwp needed to carry a hand gun in your home or place of business

  61. Geezer says:

    addendum to my previous post:

    I forgot to include olive oil, yeast, such as Budweiser or Fleishman’s,
    and toppings such as sliced pepperoni or sausage.

  62. Greg Feldman says:

    Just as a point of information, the deputies who responded did what the law requires and allows. A person committing a misdemeanor may NOT be taken into custody unless the misdemeanor was committed in the arresting officer’s presence, with a few exceptions, under Florida Statute 901.15. In this case it wasn’t committed in their presence, and the law prescribes that they prepare a charging document and submit it to the State Attorney to determine whether a warrant should be issued based upon the facts presented.

  63. Markingthedays says:

    I think the argument could be made that the owner committed aggravated assault when he pointed a gun at the woman an her child, which is in fact a felony.

    Look, only one person threatened anyone with bodily harm with a deadly weapon. And it was this tough guy who can’t handle a woman without threatening her with violence.

  64. Since1987 says:

    What was odd about the charge? What was the charge? It’s common knowledge arrests can’t be made unless it’s a misdemeanor exception or felony.

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