Restaurant Cook Arrested for Desertion

Zachary Todd Kuzia, a local restaurant cook, was arrested after being checked by state police in a routine traffic incident early Saturday evening and taken to the Eastern Regional Jail in Martinsburg, W.Va., as a U.S. Army deserter and federal fugitive.

Kuzia, 24, formerly of North Adams, Massachusetts, was employed as a cook for the Berryville Grille and House of Light Café located at 9 and 13 East Main Street.

According to arrest and booking information posted on the jail’s official website, Kuzia was arrested at 6:45 p.m. Saturday and transported to the jail at 94 Grapevine Road in Martinsburg, where he was held over the weekend without bond awaiting turnover to military authorities.

The jail operated by the West Virginia Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety booked Kuzia under the name Zachary Ikuzio, according to his mugshot photo posted on the facility’s official website. The official arrest and booking description lists him as 5’11”, 217 lbs., and the photo shows him to have brown eyes and black hair.

Under federal law and military regulations, any apprehended person found to be a member of the armed forces who is absent without leave (AWOL) or a deserter must be taken into custody by civilian authorities and delivered to the nearest military installation having facilities to process absentees or deserters.

Eastern Regional Jail officials said Kuzia would likely be sent to  Fort Campbell, Ky., the state’s largest of two Army bases, which is home of the famed 101st Airborne Army assault division.

Kuzia had worked in the kitchen that serves both restaurants without incident before his arrest, according to co-owner Brian McClemens, who runs the House of Light Café.

Fellow workers said no one was aware that Kuzia was a military deserter, but a waitress and close friend said she knew he had served several years ago as an Army ranger parachutist.  He was living as a renter in Boyce.