The co-owner of one of Rehoboth Beach's most famous restaurants has been missing for nearly 10 days.
Police say Nicholas Caggiano, 47, son of Nicola Pizza founders Nick and Joan Caggiano, left his Ocean View home about 7:30 a.m. Jan. 12 and has not been heard from since.
"The family has not heard from him and grew concerned," said Cpl. Gary Fournier of the Delaware State Police. "We're hoping to get some calls and see if anyone has heard anything about him."
As of Jan. 21, Joan Caggiano said there have been no updates on Nick's whereabouts. Police also said there is no new information as to Caggiano's whereabouts since police announced his disappearance Jan. 18. At that time, Fournier said based on information provided by the family, police do not suspect foul play.
According to police, Caggiano never showed up at Nicola Pizza on Jan. 12. He was last seen leaving home in his car, a grey 2013 Toyota Tacoma with Delaware registration CL93261.
Joan Caggiano said she last saw her son the night before he disappeared, as he left work at the restaurant. She said he told her goodbye as he left, but he was not angry or agitated. The next day, her husband called her from the restaurant to tell her their son had not come in for work.
Joan Caggiano said her son had left his cell phone on the kitchen table of his Ocean View home, which was unusual, but his wife thought he was on his way to work. Joan said Nick typically left for work early to pick up meat for the restaurant. The family began to wonder where he was around 11:30 when he did not show up to work, Joan said. She said although Nick did not have his cell phone, he did have his credit card and cash. Joan said the credit card has not been used since Nick disappeared.
Caggiano is 5-feet-10-inches tall, and weighs about 180 pounds, with brown hair and blue eyes. He was wearing khakis and a shirt with buttons.
Joan Caggiano said police have talked to Nick’s friends, as well as hospitals, but no one has heard from him. The Caggiano family contacted Delaware State Police on Jan. 15, but asked police to hold off on announcing his disappearance.
“We thought he was just going to walk back into work,” Joan said. “We didn’t want to put it out and then he comes right back.”
She said Nick Jr. likes to fish and on one other occasion had gone out for a long period of time. But, Joan said, his boat is still in its slip, and he’s never been out for this long. Although the family was hesitant to issue a missing person alert at first, Joan is glad they did.
“I’m glad it’s out there,” she said. “Maybe someone will see him or someone has seen him.”
The Caggiano family is trying to carry on; Joan, Nick Sr. and their niece Kelly Munyan are still going into work.
“We’re trying to go on with life and be normal,” Joan said. “At this point, we’re getting concerned.”
The Caggiano family opened the popular pizza restaurant on First Street in Rehoboth Beach in 1971, and it has been a mainstay of downtown Rehoboth ever since. Nicola is famous for its signature dish, the Nic-o-Boli. A second location, on Rehoboth Avenue, opened in 2010.
The Delaware State Police are asking anyone who may know Caggiano's location to contact Detective Yeich at 302-856-5850, Ext. 224.
Citizens may also provide a tip by texting keyword “DSP” plus the message to 274637 (CRIMES). Tipsters may also provide information through lines maintained by Delaware Crime Stoppers at 800-TIP-3333. Callers can also submit information via the internet at www.tipsubmit.com.