Peterson, wire-wearing friend get in fight

"It was the best hundred bucks I've spent. I would do it again," Wawczak said.
July 26, 2008 9:29:46 AM PDT
Drew Peterson and the man who claims he secretly taped him were both at the Bolingbrook police station Friday afternoon after the two got into a fight. It happened outside a barbershop and spilled into the parking lot of a strip mall.

Police say Len Wawczak and Peterson got into an altercation and police had to be called to the scene.

Earlier this week, Wawczak and his wife, Paula Stark, said that they wore wires to secretly record Peterson, whom they say talked about the death of his third wife, Kathleen Savio, and his missing fourth wife, Stacy.

Peterson is a suspect in Stacy Peterson's disappearance, but he has not been charged.

Bolingbrook Police Chief Ray McGury said Wawczak, who recorded conversations with Drew Peterson over a seven-month period, was the one who walked away with a ticket.

McGury said at about 1:30 p.m. Friday, police received a call from the Illinois State Police that two people were in a verbal altercation at a barber shop.

"We responded to the scene, patrol officers and a supervisor, at which point there was no observable battery or any issues between the two, other than some shouting back and forth," McGury said. The chief said police began interviewing witnesses.

"We started getting statements. Both Mr. Wawczak and Mr. Peterson agreed to come down to the police department to sort it out. In taking some of the statements, independent witnesses came forward and stated that Mr. Wawczak allegedly had shoved Mr. Peterson in the back at least one time. Based on that information and based upon an interview with Mr. Wawczak, he was charged with a local ordinance charge of battery," McGury said.

Wawczak was charged with a misdemeanor and paid a $100 bond.

"He will come back here in September and plead guilty or not guilty to the charges," McGury said.

Wawczak walked out of the police department just after 4:30 p.m. He explained how the confrontation began with his 20-year-old son getting a haircut.

"It started with my son, Colin, calling home and letting us know that he was in a barbershop that Drew had come into to get a haircut and was staring my son down, giving him dirty looks. I said, 'Do you feel he is starting with you?' He said, 'No, but he is trying to intimidate me,'" Wawczak said.

Wawczak said he wanted to let Drew Peterson know he could not "mess with my family, not my kids, not Paula, not nobody."

Wawczak said the fight was the first time he'd seen Drew Peterson since revealing that he and his wife had worn wires during recent conversations with Drew. He said he doesn't regret the confrontation.

"Absolutely, I pushed him twice, not once. I don't have a problem with that. Like I said, it was the best hundred bucks I've spent. I would do it again," Wawczak said.

Wawczak said he doesn't have a problem with Drew Peterson and Peterson's lawyer, Joel Brodsky, trying to slam him or his wife because "that is their technique."

"They can continue to do it, and I'm sure this will fuel the fire for them. I'm good with that. What I'm not good with and won't be, is trying to intimidate one of my kids. So, if him and Joel continue to do what they are doing, which is slander me and Paula, it is OK. We can battle it out in court. If they try to intimidate one of my three kids, you [the news media] will be back here again. I expect next time I will get a state charge instead of a local charge because next time I will knock his [expletive] out," Wawczak said.

Drew Peterson's attorney, Joel Brodsky briefly stated that Drew had been ambushed. Drew Peterson also left the police department Friday afternoon.

The barbers say Peterson wanted to get a haircut, but it was too busy. So, he walked out. Minutes later, the barbershop owner spotted Wawczak outside. He said Wawczak appeared hostile.

"As a proprietor, I asked him, 'What's going on? You're in our parking lot.' He said, 'Drew just left, I'm about to punch Drew in his face,'" said Ernest Brown, barbershop owner.

Shortly thereafter, witnesses say, Wawczak confronted Peterson in the parking lot.

"Basically, just ran up on him and started having a shoving match. But Drew never did anything. He tried to walk to his car," said Tivon Woodward, witness.

Peterson deferred questions to his lawyer.

"We're going to let Mr. Brodsky handle this - per his instructions - or else I would talk to you all day," Peterson said.


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