Last week, the INDY called the Durham location of what’s still calling itself Lilly’s Pizza for more information about the restaurant’s forthcoming name change to Peabody Pizza Place. We spoke with an owner who identified himself only as Jamie—and declined to give us his last name.
In an interview today, he explained his reluctance: Jamie Greaves is a registered sex offender who was arrested last year in Boone after driving there to meet for sex someone he believed was a fourteen-year-old girl he’d met on a dating site but was really an undercover police officer.
Greaves, forty-three, says he was “catfished” by the police.
“I didn’t initiate this interaction,” Greaves says. “The officer found me, reached out, and when they finally claimed that they were an underage female, I didn’t stop the conversation as I should have.”
Greaves, one of four partners taking over ownership of Peabody Pizza Place, was convicted in January on charges of soliciting a child by computer and taking indecent liberties with children, sentenced to probation, and forced to register as a sex offender for at least ten years.
He says he made a bad decision but is trying to get on with his life.
“I had a lapse in judgment. It’s a big lapse, but I hope that this one incident doesn’t define who I am,” Greaves says.
Some people are calling for a boycott, CBS 17 reported earlier this week. Lilly’s owner Jon Garrison—who still owns the location in Raleigh’s Five Points—told the News & Observer that he wouldn’t have sold the restaurant to Greaves had he known about his past.
“I understand people’s frustration and anger at me, but if there’s a boycott, the people who will suffer the most are the thirty employees who work here,” Greaves says. “I hate to think that all these people are going to be hurt or victimized because of this one thing I did.”
Greaves encourages anyone who is concerned to come meet him in person.
“I’d be happy to sit, talk, and buy ’em a slice of pizza,” Greaves says. “I made a mistake. I’m not hiding behind it. I’m not running from it.”
As we reported in last week’s Friday Night Bites newsletter, Greaves told us that little will change about Peabody Pizza Place after it changes its name in early June. Aside from new ownership, he said, the product, staff, and ingredients will remain largely the same as Lilly’s.
“That’s a complete lie,” Garrison told the INDY on Thursday, adding that he was going to call Greaves as soon as he hung up the phone.
The sale agreement, which was finalized May 14, gave the new owners time to put up new signage while continuing operations, Garrison says. But that’s it: “It’s not a Lilly’s.”
The new owners, he says, do not have the right to Lilly’s menu or ingredients, and he expected them to have stopped using the name by now.
“Everything changes,” Garrison says. “It is not a Lilly’s and will not be a Lilly’s.”
He put the Durham restaurant on the market six months ago. Garrison says a broker handled the sale and performed due diligence on Greaves and his partners, but didn’t turn up any red flags—even though Greaves is on the state’s sex offender registry.
Lena Geller is an intern at INDY Week. Comment on this story at email@example.com. This story was updated on May 22 to include and reflect Garrison’s comments.
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