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Man Pepper Sprays McDonald’s Manager, Arrested

The Warwick Police Department is located at 99 Veterans Memorial Drive.
The Warwick Police Department is located at 99 Veterans Memorial Drive.
The Warwick Police Department is located at 99 Veterans Memorial Drive.

WARWICK, RI — A Cranston man who pepper sprayed the Warwick Avenue McDonald’s manager at the drive-thru June 20 after he was unable to order a Big Breakfast Combo due to a pandemic-limited menu will answer an assault charge in Third District Court Sept. 22.

Joseph M. Domenico, 40, of 9 Oakwood Drive, Cranston, faces a simple assault and disorderly conduct charge after he swore at a drive-thru server, the manager, 18, who informed him they couldn’t serve the  Big Breakfast Combo he’d tried to order. The restaurant was operating with a limited menu due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the manager informed him, according to a Warwick Police report.

Domenico responded by calling the manager a “f*****g c**t,” according to the report. When the server told the man she wouldn’t be serving him, he sprayed pepper spray at the woman through the drive thru window, according to police records.

Warwick Police Officer Brenen Cardoza was one of several officers called to the scene for a report of a customer who had maced one of the employees. When he arrived, one of the employees met him outside, telling him their manager was inside the building. ” ‘It’s bad,’ ” the worker told Cardoza, according to the report.

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Inside, Cardoza immediately began to cough from the pepper spray. He found the manager, who was in visible pain, her face extremely red and her eyes bloodshot from the spray. She was struggling to keep her eyes open and was breathing heavily, according to Cardoza’s report. She was screaming that it hurt while attempting to pour milk on her eyes, the officer reported. Warwick Fire personnel arrived shortly after and aided her in flushing her eyes in a sink inside the business. She was later transported to Rhode Island Hospital for treatment.

The victim identified the assailant as a man in his 30s or 40s, with spiked black hair and bushy eyebrows. Witnesses described the assailant’s car as an older model Hyundai Elantra with RI plates.

Ten days later, on June 30 at 3 a.m., Officer Ryan McGarry spotted a man sleeping in a tan Elantra in the back lot of the La Quinta Inn at 36 Jefferson Blvd. during a routine patrol. McGarry asked the man, later identified as Domenico, to exit the car. When he did so, McGarry could see an aluminum baseball bat, a folding pocket knife, and a 10-inch can of Mace in the car.

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Since Domenico was not the registered owner of the car, it was towed from the scene to Warwick Police Headquarters. Domenico refused to answer McGarry’s questions, and he was released from the scene after collecting his belongings from the car.

On July 8 at 7:51 p.m., Warwick officers were dispatched to the Cranston Police Department at 5 Garfield Ave., Cranston, RI, to pick up Domenico, who had been picked up by the CPD on a Warwick arrest warrant for the assault.

The officers transported Domenico to Warwick Police Headquarters, 99 Veterans Memorial Drive, where he was fingerprinted, processed, and charged with simple assault and disorderly conduct. He was later released with a court date for Sept. 22.

Rob Borkowski
Author: Rob Borkowski

Rob has worked as reporter and editor for several publications, including The Kent County Daily Times and Coventry Courier, before working for Gatehouse in MA then moving home with Patch Media. Now he's publisher and editor of WarwickPost.com. Contact him at editor@warwickpost.com with tips, press releases, advertising inquiries, and concerns.