Manco and Manco’s Pizza Boardwalk Stores Dark Friday Night Following Sentencing of Owners
By Tim KellyBoardwalk strollers seeking a slice of Manco and Manco pizza last night were instead greeted with a dark store and a curious handwritten sign.A small paper sign was displayed next to a printed one listing the winter hours of the 12th St. store, normally 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Fridays.Someone had written “We will reopen at 5 p.m. Fri Feb 24” in black ink on the paper sign. But at approximately 7:15 p.m. the lights inside the iconic Boardwalk store were turned off and the door was locked. This in the wake of the sentencing of owners Charles “Chuck” Bangle and his wife Mary earlier in the day on their conviction for tax evasion, structuring cash payments to avoid reporting requirements and lying to Internal Revenue agents.A call placed to the Ocean City store’s listed phone number was answered by a cheerful female voice. “You’ve reached Somers Point,” the woman said in reference to the Manco and Manco’s location in the ShopRite shopping center at Route 9 and Ocean Heights Avenue.When asked if the chain’s Ocean City locations would be open for business Friday, she said “No, not tonight.”When OCNJDaily’s photographer was on the scene Friday, a customer, who asked to remain anonymous, expressed disappointment the store was closed, and offered support for the Bangles.“We are all capable of giving-in to temptation,” the man said. “We are a Christian community. Chuck has done a lot of good in town. When his doors open again, I will be back with my family and friends.”A press release issued earlier in the day by the Camden office of U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman announced that Chuck Bangle, 57, a Somers Point resident, was sentenced to 15 months in prison. Bangle had previously pled guilty to a count on an indictment charging him with evading taxes on his 2010 personal tax returns, the release stated, as well as a count charging him with “structuring financial transactions in 2011 to avoid reporting requirements.”In addition to the prison term, Kugler sentenced Bangle to three years of supervised release, ordered him to pay restitution of $248,560 and fined him $5,000.Mary Bangle, 56, also of Somers Point was given three years of probation and fined $3,000, the release said. She previously pleaded guilty to a count on the same indictment, which charged her with knowingly making false statements.The sentences were handed down by U.S. District Judge Robert B. Kugler Friday at the federal court in Camden. More than 100 family and friends of the Bangles attended the sentencing hearing to show their support for the couple.Bangle is to begin serving his sentence in September. It was unknown in which federal prison Bangle would be confined.Thus ends a years-long process of investigating the cash business, the Bangles’ pleas and a four-times delayed sentencing. Bangle and his wife entered their guilty pleas in 2015.According to the indictment, Chuck Bangle reported $127,995 on his 2010 tax return, omitting $263,113 in income and avoided $91,577 in taxes. He also admitted to making cash deposits to a TD Bank account in amounts of less than $10,000 so that the bank would not be required to file a currency transaction report with the U.S. Treasury Department, according to published reports.None of this affected the popularity of the brand, which for decades had operated as Mack and Mancos, a name many longtime customers still refer to when discussing their favorite Jersey Shore pizza. In 2011 the name was changed following a buyout of the Mack family, former partners in the business.“Nothing has changed except the sign,” Chuck Bangle told the Press of Atlantic City at the time. “Same legendary pizza, same legendary service.”The long lines at 12th Street, customary in the summer months, were seen again last weekend at the beginning of the recent stretch of unseasonably warm weather. Tourists and locals waited patiently for their taste of Manco and Manco’s signature thin homemade crust and distinctive sauce.The chain includes two other Ocean City boardwalk locations and the Somers Point store.The Bangles are currently redeveloping the former Strand movie theatre into a Manco and Manco’s Pizza “Super store” at 9th and the Boardwalk.Work on converting the building continued unabated on Friday.