“I cannot sleep anymore,” he reportedly stated. “I start shaking every time I hear a scooter on the street.”

By Mike Pomranz
June 10, 2020
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It’s one of the oldest pranks in the (telephone) book: ordering an unwanted pizza to someone’s house. (It’s even happened to the Queen of England!) But at what point does the gag stop being funny? For a man in Belgium, after nine years of pizza delivery, he was finally fed up enough to turn to the press.

Jean Van Landeghem and the pizzas that have plagued him for nearly a decade have become a global phenomenon after the Belgian site Het Laatste Nieuws—one of the country’s oldest and most popular (and completely legitimate) newspapers—shared the Turnhout resident’s bizarre tale late last month.

“It started nine years ago,” Van Landeghem was translated as saying by the English-language site The Brussels Times. “Suddenly, a pizza delivery man handed me a whole load of pizzas. But I hadn’t ordered anything.”

The pizzas—or sometimes other delivery standards like kebabs—kept coming. For a while, he said he thought the whole thing was a mix up: the result of a pizza lover repeatedly getting his own address wrong. Eventually, however, Van Landeghem realized the intension had to be malicious.

Credit: ArtistGNDphotography/Getty Images

“I cannot sleep anymore. I start shaking every time I hear a scooter on the street. I dread that someone will come to drop off hot pizzas yet another time,” he was quoted as saying. “It can be on a weekday or during weekends, and at any time of day. [The orders come from] delivery services in Turnhout, but also from the surrounding area. I have even had orders delivered to me at 2:00 a.m.”

As a small silver lining, Van Landeghem said the annoying pranks don’t cost him anything, but beyond being a headache for himself, the restaurants also face the repercussions. “I have always refused the deliveries, so I have never paid for anything,” he stated. But at one point, in January of last year, ten different deliveries reportedly showed up at his door, one for 14 pizzas. “It costs them money and they have to throw the food away. On the day that ten deliveries showed up, I did the math: it cost [$510].”

And the devious details don’t stop there, apparently. “A friend of mine who lives in Herenthout [about 17 miles away] is going through exactly the same thing as I am. She has been receiving pizza she has not ordered for nine years, too,” he continued, suggesting the prankster is likely a mutual acquaintance. “Sometimes we both get them on the same day. When that happens, we warn each other to expect a delivery.”

The whole story may leave you skeptical. How many pizzerias are in the area? And how have they not caught on to the fake orders and flagged the address? But along with the story, Het Laatste Nieuws even published an image of Van Landeghem with stacks of delivery receipts as proof.

And yet, despite reporting the situation to the police, Van Landeghem said he’s still unsure who the culprit is. “I cannot take it anymore,” he said according to The Brussels Times. “When I find out whoever has been bothering me for the past nine years, it will not be their best day.” My guess is he will not celebrate with a pizza party.