59

After the arrest of controversial internet personality Andrew Tate on December 29th 2022 it has been claimed in multiple highly viral posts (example on Reddit) that the arrest was made possible because in a video he created during an online spat a pizza box was visible from a local Romanian pizza chain.

The claim further goes that thanks to the pizza box (coupled with the proven recency of the video) Romanian authorities knew that Andrew Tate was in the country which lead them to raiding his home.

Is there an actual source for this? My personal research did not bring anything concrete up. None of the various viral posts I have seen have a source attached, typically relying on wording such as "reportedly". (Example on Twitter)

I am skeptical of this claim because I would assume that Romanian police would have different methods of ascertaining his whereabouts such as movements into/out of country through immigration checkpoints or similar on airports or borders.

2
  • You are primarily asking about the pizza box, correct? There are various sources (say insider.com/…) that confirm he was arrested in Romania. This source also claims the Romanian police was already searching for him since April.
    – quarague
    Dec 30, 2022 at 9:47
  • 4
    @quarague: Yeah, just the pizza box, since I see that claim go incredibly viral and I can find no credible source linking the arrest to the pizza box.
    – Haris
    Dec 30, 2022 at 9:49

2 Answers 2

47

(edit: Oddthinking found an explicit denial that the pizza box had anything to do with it, so I accordingly have edited this answer.)

Report says "police monitored social media"

I believe the initial "pizza box" story came from this Twitter account which cites a scoop by the Romanian language newspaper Gândul. Here is a Google translation of their article:

Sources close to the investigation stated to Gândul that shortly after the completion of the computer analysis, the authorities waited for the right moment to catch the Tate brothers, who were always out of the country.

After seeing, including on social networks, that they were together in Romania, the DIICOT prosecutors mobilized the special troops of the Gendarmerie and descended, by force, on their villa in Pipera, but also on other addresses.

Emphasis added, for my analysis.

Claim is making two false inferences

People seem to be inferring from the article that the "social media" posts which prosecutors used to decide their timing included the pizza box video. This was questionable (now known to be false), because the article specifically mentions that they needed to know that both brothers were together in Romania, something which cannot be confirmed by the pizza box video.

The tweet makes a second incorrect inference which many others have repeated as well:

she made him so angry he inadvertently tipped off Romanian authorities of his presence in Romania

The article makes it clear that they relied on multiple sources of information to establish Tate's presence. They already knew he was in the country and, given the time that paperwork takes, they may have already been in the midst of writing a warrant at the time that he posted the pizza box video.

The claim that the video "tipped off Romanian authorities" is false, because they needed to locate both brothers. The claim that the video assisted authorities is explicitly denied by police:

Speculation swirled overnight Thursday that Romanian authorities were able to locate Tate after he posted a video in response to Thunberg containing a pizza box from a local spot that gave away his location. Bolla denied that this played a role in the detention or its timing. “It was a hard job gathering all the evidence” in the months-long investigation, Bolla said. (WaPo)

2
  • 1
    Why did it matter if both brothers are in the country? Couldn't they have arrested just one of them? Jan 2, 2023 at 0:21
  • 11
    @JonathanReez They could also just have arrested neither of them, but one of the jobs of police is to find and arrest wanted persons. If they had arrested only one, the other would most likely not return to the country, making arresting the other harder.
    – Chris_abc
    Jan 2, 2023 at 8:37
26

@Avery's existing answer shows how the story was generated.

As a complement, we now have denials from Romanian authorities that they used the pizza boxes.

Ramona Bolla, a spokesperson for the Directorate for Investigating Organized Crime and Terrorism told the Washington Post that a months-long investigation led to the Tate brothers’ arrest. If convicted they could serve years of prison time.

Even with authorities denying that pizza boxes led to Tate’s arrest, the internet continues to joke about the timing of how things unfolded and credit Thunberg for his detainment.

“Funny, but no,” DIICOT spokesperson Ramona Bolla told the AP.

7
  • 21
    Some versions of the story have a capper: there is a task force against human trafficking called GRETA that urged Romania to prosecute. That seemed a little too convenient to me, but it seems to be true.
    – Oddthinking
    Dec 30, 2022 at 22:27
  • 7
    Honestly though, that sounds like something police would say if the claim was factually correct: both to obfuscate their sources and/or coverup a degree of sloth in the pursuit (which in practical terms is simply because police have many cases). Jan 1, 2023 at 22:25
  • 1
    A Wikipedia article about GRETA was created in March 2020, so we may assume GRETA is a real EU organisation against human trafficking and not made up because of Greta Thunberg's first name. What a coincidence.
    – gnasher729
    Jan 3, 2023 at 10:35
  • 3
    @gnasher729: GRETA had its first meeting in 2009. Thunberg started protesting in 2015.
    – Oddthinking
    Jan 3, 2023 at 14:14
  • 2
    @gnasher729: Note: GRETA did not have him arrested. They are not law-enforcement. They are a European committee charged with monitoring action against human trafficking. The claim isn't that they named him in particular, but urged Romania to take more action in general.
    – Oddthinking
    Jan 4, 2023 at 19:41

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .