Tony’s Sub Shack

February 8, 2017 § Leave a comment

While I was writing my last post, I mentioned a summer at Penn State when I started working for Tony Fabri who ran Tony’s Sub Shack on College Avenue. All these years later, that time in my life was such a strange time. When my girls were growing up, if they had ever come to me and asked, “Dad? Have you ever broken the law, or have you ever worked for a real dirtbag?”, I would have lied and said, “Of course not! Dirtbag? Moi work for a dirtbag? Where did you ever get such an idea?”

Today, however if they asked the same question, then of course I would tell them the truth. I did work for a dirt bag, and his name was Tony Fabri .

We are talking 1980-1981 here, so many years ago, but it is still fresh in my head. Let’s start with what I did just 5 minutes ago. I typed the following into the Google search engine “Tony’s Sub Shack Penn State Murder”, and this is the top link. Some tweaks to the search criteria and you get this one as well. Go ahead and read the articles, and then come back to this.

I shared a 4 bedroom apartment in the Laurel Glen complex on the outskirts of State College with John Sedonic, and a couple of other guys. Both John and I stayed for that Summer session because we had a one year lease, and we both had the same habits. Late nights that usually needed some kind of late snack, and we happened upon Tony’s Sub Shack down on College Ave. Tony was more than twice our age, and basically ran a dump, but the food was good, to a college kid, and Tony had outgoing personality which we engaged in chat every time we went in. The second or third time, Tony asked us if we wanted a beer, which of course (Duh!) we accepted. Tony kept a keg tapped in the fridge, and his regulars were free to indulge, as well as his workers. Mostly he employed college kids, but there were some locals in there as well. Usually locals of the young female persuasion. Nothing was obvious at first, and eventually I ended up getting a job there using my Mom’s car to make deliveries.

It worked like this. If Tony was in the shop, and an order came in, he would say something like, “Eric, these are some of my regulars, so when you deliver these pizzas/sandwiches take this half gallon of beer with you, and he would dispense beer into some container, and I would take it into campus dorms and give it to underage students. They were probably underage, but who was asking? Obviously less of an issue for the off-campus units, but the story was the same. I delivered a lot of beer to Tony’s customers.

Eventually we heard about Tony’s family owning a Dude Ranch somewhere in the Poconos, and Tony invited us many times to come visit. We never really took the invite seriously, but that wasn’t because we had any doubts about the place, it was simply that that kind of place wasn’t within our sphere of fun. We laughed it off and Tony never pushed.

It’s probably a good time to mention that Tony’s current girl friend was a young 20 something high school dropout from State College who, had been a problem child and had a falling out with her parents. I didn’t know this right away, but that kind of information comes across in bits and pieces over the course of time as she used to work at the shop as well.

The longer I worked there, the worse the whole situation smelled, and eventually John and I merged his Datsun and my mother’s Datsun into a single working Datsun, and I no longer had a car to handle deliveries, and Tony and I parted ways.

The money I earned allowed me to complete my cross-country bicycle trip in 1981, after which I returned to State College to finish my under-graduate degree, staying on to start my graduate program. Some time in the late Fall, there was an article in the paper that Tony Fabri had been murdered in a cabin by a minor who had planted a sledgehammer into his skull. That was when the true nature of Tony’s operation came to light.

As it turns out, Tony used his Sub Shack business to recruit under-aged girls to use at his brother’s dude ranch in the Poconos. Apparently they ran a Dude Ranch business that catered to pedophiles, and Tony kept his eyes open for fresh young girls in State College who were stretching the limits of their parents patience, and he wined and dined them, and seemed to be successful in recruiting them into his business. Well, this one young girl, Cathy Ann Olswfski, 17 at the time had had enough, and while Tony was sleeping, she buried a sledgehammer in his skull.

There was a reporter looking into case, and I contacted her to give most of what I had suspected about Tony, but never really knew for sure, and a fairly comprehensive story emerged from which extenuating circumstances where used to help reduce the severity of the initial charges against Cathy Ann.

That is pretty much the story of my time working for a dirt bag, and in retrospect, apparently Jerry Sandusky wasn’t the only pervert operating in the State College area.

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