Members of SoCal religious-based store arrested after fracas

Seven members of a religious-based, commune-style business were arrested after a scuffle broke out when they allegedly tried to block health officials from inspecting their restaurant, authorities said.

Costa Mesa police, investigators from the Orange County district attorney’s office and health officials showed up at Piecemakers Country Store Wednesday morning with an inspection warrant.

A judge issued the warrant because Piecemakers members had denied inspectors access to the group’s kitchen earlier this month, said District Attorney spokesman Mark Macaulay.

“We don’t let the inspectors in because they try to enforce codes, written by some idiot, that don’t help (anyone),” said Marie Kolasinski , the group’s 84-year-old founder and leader.

Authorities arrested Kolasinski after she tried to pull an inspector’s thermometer out of a pot of soup. A fracas then broke out, resulting in the arrests of four more women and two men for investigation of assault and obstruction of justice, officials said.

Several Piecemakers members, who say they are devout followers of Jesus Christ, continuously screamed profanities at the officials during the incident.

“We have to use language like that because these people don’t have consciences, and those words wake them up and scare them a little,” said Kolasinski, who founded the group in 1978.

The group’s 24 members share profits, ownership and responsibilities of the business, which also sells quilting supplies and original calendars, runs a hair salon, and provides custom interior and furniture design and construction services.

Piecemakers’ food service permit allows it to sell only prepackaged food but not to run a restaurant, said Howard Sutter, a spokesman for the county’s Health Care Agency.

The group claims the Fourth Amendment precludes the government from regulating its business.

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(Listed if other than Religion News Blog, or if not shown above)
AP, via SFGate.com, USA
Oct. 27, 2005
sfgate.com

Religion News Blog posted this on Thursday October 27, 2005.
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