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Dien Rice November 24, 2000 01:23 PM

The most unusual pizza business in the world....
 
An entrepreneurial prison inmate has set up his own pizza shop in prison in Brazil.... and delivers pizzas for a profit....

Here's the story....

November 24, 2000....

SAO PAULO - Brazilian jails may have a grim reputation for crammed cells, cruel treatment of prisoners and bloody riots, but the Dutra Ladeira prison now is famous for something else -- its pizza.

Little Tutu pizzeria and bakery, run in the central Minas Gerais state by former drug runner and now convict Thenys Chagas Pereira, sells pizzas to prisoners and guards and even delivers to neighboring districts on the outskirts of state capital Belo Horizonte.

"We all love this pizza, especially tomato and sausage," said a secretary for the prison director, Col. Carlos Roberto de Paula, who allowed the bakery on the prison grounds as part of a social rehabilitation program.

The bakery is operated by seven people, among them convicted drug traffickers, thieves and killers -- "a mixed bag", as Pereira put it. Only one was a baker.

Pereira, 34, says he and two business partners will each pocket $250 after the first month of the Little Tutu operation. He said that on weekends the Little Tutu, named after his daughter, delivers up to 140 pizzas.

"The idea was born when jail mates had difficulties with ordering pizza to the jail on visiting days. You know, when the women come to visit," Pereira, who is serving an eight-year jail term, told Reuters by telephone from the prison.

"Prisoners loved it as it's so much better than the prison food. Later prison officials started taking pizzas home and people from homes nearby started ordering," he said, explaining that a partner in freedom was handling the deliveries.

But Pereira's idea now is to arrange a way for prisoners to venture out sometimes to deliver pizzas.

This is a real news story.... $250 a month each doesn't sound like much, but it might go further in Brazil....

Dien Rice


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