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Authorities: Man accused of choking pizza shop owner after firing
Former worker charged with assault, theft
Brandon Cole Burtz

A Murrayville man is accused of choking a Clermont pizza restaurant owner and taking a pair of designer sunglasses shortly after being terminated from the business, according to authorities.

Brandon Cole Burtz, 24, faces charges of aggravated assault, battery, criminal trespass on property and theft by taking. He was booked Tuesday in to the Hall County Jail, where he remains.

Hall County authorities said Burtz worked at Mr. Edd’s Pizza Plus on Cleveland Highway before being fired by the owner Jody Veal on March 3.

Veal said he had issues with Burtz’s work performances in the past and asked him to leave.

Less than an hour later, Burtz allegedly returned to the business and took Veal’s sunglasses from the office. The warrant lists the sunglasses’ value at $1,000.

While Burtz spoke with an employee outside, Veal came outside to throw out the trash, according to Hall County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Nicole Bailes.

Veal said his manager was approaching Burtz regarding money for previous deliveries.

“As Burtz observes Veal, he quickly engages him and begins to assault him, striking him in the face numerous times and placing him in a chokehold causing loss of consciousness,” Bailes wrote in an email.

The employee called 911, and Burtz allegedly fled the area, Bailes said.

“I walk out the back door to literally a punch in the face, and then he hit me four times in the back of the head,” Veal said of Burtz’s alleged actions.

Investigators obtained warrants for Burtz on March 9 and arrested him on Tuesday.

Veal said the incident has shaken him emotionally and has caused a good deal of stress.

“As hard as I work, it makes it hard to deal with stuff like this,” Veal said.

Burtz is being held without bond.

“Being strangled within an inch of your life is one of the scariest things I’ve ever dealt with, if not the scariest,” Veal said.