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Pizzerias in New York, Austin now face #Pizzagate-related threats, harassment

East Side Pies in Austin, Texas has been dragged into the Pizzagate conspiracy theory, in part due to this logo. (KEYE)

The bizarre and wildly implausible conspiracy theory that led an armed North Carolina man to storm a Washington, D.C. pizzeria over the weekend is apparently sparking action against restaurants in other cities as well.

Police say Edgar Maddison Welch went to Comet Ping Pong in D.C. on Sunday with an assault rifle to investigate the false claim that spread online in recent weeks that the restaurant was the base of a child sex trafficking ring involving Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. No one was injured, but he remains in custody on a charge of assault with a dangerous weapon and other offenses.

The fake story that allegedly inspired him was based on hacked emails between Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta and the pizza shop’s owner. There is no credible evidence to support the claim that the restaurant is part of a pedophilia ring, and its owner has adamantly denied the allegation.

Welch is apparently not the only one taking it upon themselves to seek justice for nonexistent sex slaves over what has become known as “Pizzagate,” though, and Comet Ping Pong is no longer the only pizzeria under suspicion.

Roberta’s in Brooklyn has now received threatening phone calls as well, according to the Associated Press. Social media users have linked Roberta’s to Comet somehow, and the threatening calls have referenced emails from Clinton’s private server and a birthday party the Clintons once attended at the popular Brooklyn restaurant.

East Side Pies in Austin, Texas has reportedly been dragged into the conspiracy now. The pizza joint’s logo features an eye that social media posts have interpreted as a reference to the secret world-ruling “Illuminati.”

Noah Polk, co-owner of East Side Pies, told KEYE that the restaurant has been the subject of harassment and threats over the last couple of weeks. One of its delivery vehicles has been vandalized and a man recently attempted to livestream from the restaurant on Periscope because a woman was playing dominoes with her children.

Owen Shroyer of conspiracy theory website InfoWars posted a two-and-a-half our video on YouTube last week laying out his dubious evidence that East Side Pies is somehow involved in the Clinton-linked child sex ring, which, again, does not exist.

Polk has filed police reports over the vandalism and harassment.

The incident at Comet Ping Pong on Sunday has fueled further conspiracy theories, with some on social media suggesting Welch may have been an actor hired to discredit the story.

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