DOCUMENT: Stupid, Crime

Police: Brutal Yelp Reviews Prompted Attack

Eatery owner allegedly beat man over online pans

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Yelp Battery

OCTOBER 14--Incensed over a pair of scathing reviews on Yelp, the owner of a Florida BBQ joint last night allegedly physically attacked his suspected online critic, according to cops who arrested the restaurateur.

Investigators charge that Daniel Ahrens, 60, jumped atop the male victim and struck him several times while outside a residence in Largo, a city in the Tampa Bay area.

Ahrens, seen at right, was arrested for battery and booked into the county jail. He was released from custody early this morning after posting $500 bond on the misdemeanor charge.

According to an arrest affidavit, the confrontation Tuesday evening began when the victim, whose name has been redacted by police, arrived at the Largo home. The 25-year-old victim is the son of Ahrens’s girlfriend.

The victim, cops reported, sought to speak with his mother about “threatening” communications sent to him by Ahrens. In addition to texts, Ahrens allegedly called the man “several times in regards to ‘wanting to beat his ass’ about a ‘restaurant review.’”

A pair of brutal Yelp reviews published Monday disparaged the food at Georgia Boy’s Bar B-Que, the restaurant owned by Ahrens. Reviewer “Sean R.” claimed that he “wouldn’t even feed it to my dog,” adding that the eatery’s owner “should spend less time threatening customers and more time on learning to cook properly.” The second review, authored by “Rick R.,” declared that it was “not a great idea to threaten your customers, due to you serving garbage BBQ.”

The arrest affidavit does not indicate whether Ahrens thought the victim authored both Yelp reviews or was somehow involved in their posting.

Police charge that when the victim’s mother opened her door, Ahrens “shoved his way past and started to chase the victim around in the road.” Eventually, after the victim tripped and fell to the ground, Ahrens, cops allege, “jumped on top of him and struck him several times while the victim covered his face with his arms.”

Ahrens did not return phone messages left at the restaurant and on his girlfriend’s cellphone.

Ahrens was arrested in July on multiple felony counts after allegedly punching his girlfriend in the face and placing a pillow over her face for two minutes. He was also accused of threatening the woman with a wooden board that he used to strike her vehicle. In a plea deal, Ahrens copped last month to criminal mischief, a misdemeanor, and was fined $575 and credited for the 11 days he spent in the county jail before bonding out. (1 page)