Restaurant says its being extorted over online video • Man implants Tesla key in hand • Vinsetta Garage deal

A video alleging a restaurant cook spit into a pot of food is making the rounds online, but the owners of the business say that they are being extorted because of it.

The person who recorded it, shared the clip on social media claiming the cook is spitting in the sauce. The video was taken at Royal Barbecue on Mt. Elliott near I-94. The popular restaurant has been in business for years.

"It looks like she's smelling it," said one customer looking at the video. "She didn't spit, no."

FOX 2: "There's not really much of a view from (the seating area of the restaurant) to (the kitchen)."

"Not really, no," said Julie Cekaj, one of the owners.

Cekaj says that back in early August, some person just happened to catch the family member cook as she was making the sauce for their smoked baked beans.

"I would never go after anyone's business to try to take them down, to get better business for me," Cekaj said.

And then she says they edited the tape to make it look like she's spitting in the sauce.

"We had an investigator - they looked at the video, they slowed it down," she said. "The way breathing and spitting, they said it was a different movement - a different throat movement.  They came out that it was not true."

FOX 2 called the health department. They saw the video on social media - because they aggressively monitor these kinds of things - and immediately conducted an on-site investigation.  

Yet they concluded that the video was inconclusive - and no disciplinary action was taken.  But the health department will continue to watch.

FOX 2: "If you have loyal customers, they don't believe that someone would spit in the sauce?"

A lot of loyal customers called us, a lot," she said.

Even with loyal customers to float the business, the power of social media can still hold sway - which the person who filmed the scene banked on when they had a phone call with the restaurant.

"I can release the video and take it down. But I need a fee for that," the person claiming to be behind the Instagram account said over the phone.

Then, Cekaj received calls from an unknown man saying he can take the video down - but he needs a fee for that. She and the other owner, Nick, recorded one of the calls.

"What's your name?" she asked.

"You don't need my name," the caller said.

"I'm trying to help you out," the caller said. "A hundred and fifty dollars is not bad. I would delete the video, that f-ing video and everything, and I won't even tell the guy."

So FOX 2 called the number - but the person on the line, claimed it wasn't him.

Shootout at 8 Mile gas station

Police are looking for information into a shootout that multiple gunman had at a gas station on Eight Mile in Detroit last week. The shooting left a 23-year-old with a non-fatal gunshot wound during the Aug. 18 incident. 

It unfolded around midnight when the victim exited a BP gas station in the 17100 block of W. Eight Mile and walked to his vehicle. A short time later, two men also left the gas station and started firing at him.

After about 15 seconds of shooting, both suspects fled in a black Ford Fusion with the license plate number EBP-4779. The victim was struck and was treated at a local hospital for a non-life threatening injury. 

The BP gas station is a Project Green Light location and video from the store caught the two men shooting. As one suspect in a hooded sweatshirt exits the gas station, he approaches a car before another man gets out and both start firing.  Both appear to pull the trigger of their handguns multiple times before getting back in the Fusion and speeding off.

First day of classes at Oxford schools

It won't be just a new school year greeting kids on Thursday when students return to class in Oxford. Along with the pre-school year jitters and anxiety is a weapons detection system at the front door. Warning lights that indicate a lockdown have also been installed. There may also be a larger presence of police as the Oakland County Sheriff has promised more support for the district.

The Nov. 30 mass shooting that left four students dead and several others injured has continued to dominate discussions in the district and around the state after Oxford Township was elevated into the national spotlight. The township, staff, its students, and parents have overcome a lot since the tragedy. 

An effort to kick off a new school year with a feeling of normalcy that was stolen last year will be the latest goal of the district. In recent weeks, the district has unveiled many of the added security measures that will be at the school when students return. In addition to the biometric scanners, there will be security officials, safety shades in classrooms, and dozens of more cameras.

There will also be an OK2SAY system that allows students and staff to report tips by text or email anonymously. Clear backpacks will also be required. The full installation of these measures is expected to be finished by next month. 

More Oxford High School shooting coverage here 

Vinsetta Garage strikes deal with Berkley to resolve parking drama

A longtime dispute over parking at the Vinsetta Garage in Berkley is close to being resolved after the city's planning commission approved a site plan for the restaurant's expansion. A decade of complaints have come from homeowners after a decision to remove some properties for parking was approved by the city.

"If it takes the parking off of our street that’s fine, but I want to make sure that it is landscaped, that it looks professional, that it looks nice, that we have some type of enclosure - and it’s not just a big, messy, overgrown lot," said resident Nicki Sanom.

The vote to approve the site plan included conditions to address residents' concerns about the parking lots which will have 28 spaces on Eaton and 26 on Oxford - the two roads where the expansion is happening. Provisions for masonry screen walls to match Vinsetta's bricks were also included.

Kapelanski, the Berkley community development director, says the city walked a tight rope in addressing the concerns of homeowners and the demands of the restaurant. Vinsetta Garage co-owner Curt Catallo says the parking lot plan has always been the best forward and they’re going above and beyond what’s required for them.

Read more reaction from the city's move here

Man implants Tesla key in his hand

A Metro Detroit man has guaranteed he will never be locked out of his car and it only required implanting a chip in his hand. It serves as a key to his Tesla, as well as a testament to his enthusiasm for technology and the digital age. It's also not the first key he's had implanted in his body after he had a house key put in his left hand.

"So after that was inserted and the swelling went down, I’m able to open up the front and back door of my house. I can walk up to people and have them tap their phone to my hand and instantly transfer my contact information in my portfolio, my Covid vaccine card," Brandon Dalaly said.

But he didn't stop there. He also got a second chip implant, this time in his right hand so he could get into his car. "It’s a perfect back up. You can never forget it, it never breaks, something that won’t fail you," he said.

"The chips themselves are around $200 to $300 and the install is only about $100 because you can go to a local piercing shop who will agree to do the installation," he said. "All the programming and coding putting the apps on the chips - that’s all done by me."

Brandon also has ideas for a third chip installation. Read what here

Live on FOX 2

Daily Forecast

Expect another good weather-morning before things get potentially wet in the afternoon Thursday. Spotty showers are expected to be over Metro Detroit by 7 p.m.

What else we're watching

  1. A legit castle is now up for sale in Oakland County. The $2.5 million structure comes with a drawbridge, moat, hidden rooms, and a dungeon in Oakland Township. See the listing here
  2. Ethan Crumbley will be back in court Thursday for his monthly hearing about his incarceration in adult jail in Oakland County. Crumbley's hearings have been getting shorter each time a judge convenes with his caretaker and attorneys each month. 
  3. The EPA is monitoring an oil spill in Trenton after diesel from an abandoned underground storage tank at a hospital leaked into the Detroit River. Regulators have been in touch with the property owner about reclamation of the area. 
  4. According to data from Redfin and reported by Axios Detroit, more than 30% of home sellers in Metro Detroit dropped their asking price in July - a sign of a cooling housing market after a red hot period of selling.
  5. Tenisha Yancey, a Wayne County lawmaker is set to unveil legislation that would free up the cost to make a phone call from a jail. It currently costs money to do so. 

Kobe Bryant's widow awarded $16M in trial over crash photos

A federal jury found Wednesday that Los Angeles County must pay Kobe Bryant’s widow $16 million for emotional distress caused by deputies and firefighters sharing photos of the bodies of the NBA star and his daughter taken at the site of the 2020 helicopter crash that killed them.

The nine jurors who returned the unanimous verdict agreed with Vanessa Bryant and her attorneys that the photos of the remains of Kobe Bryant and their 13-year-old daughter Gianna invaded her privacy and brought her emotional distress.

The jury deliberated for 4 1/2 hours before reaching the verdict. Vanessa Bryant cried quietly as it was read.