Apparently the business of selling a peaceful night's sleep occasionally means war.

A district sales manager for the Sleepy's mattress-store chain is facing trial for allegedly pulling business rival Mattress Warehouse's advertising signs from the ground, according to police, who said the man dropped them after being confronted by a Mattress Warehouse employee.

John Morrison, 46, of 510 E. Christine Road in Nottingham, Chester County, is free on his own recognizance, charged with theft and receiving stolen property. His formal court arraignment is set for Sept. 6 in York County Court, according to court records.

The confrontation happened along Arsenal Road in Manchester Township, near the Interstate 83 northbound on-ramp, just before 3 p.m. June 23 between Morrison and Gerald Alleva, according to Northern York County Regional Police.

Confronted: Alleva, 47, of Rockville, Md., happened to be driving past the area when he spotted a man in a shirt and tie yanking Mattress Warehouse ad signs from the ground, police said. Alleva is a Mattress Warehouse employee, so he stopped.

"He was actually very cocky," Alleva said. "He said to me, 'Do you know it's illegal to put up signs on the street?' And I replied, 'Do you know it's illegal to take property?'"

Alleva told The York Dispatch the man didn't stop what he was doing until he realized Alleva was calling 911 and trying to get the man's license-plate number.

At that point, Morrison dropped the signs and drove off, according to his arrest affidavit.


"He drove so fast I was unable to get his license plate," Alleva said.

Took photos: But he did have time to take photos of the man and his vehicle, according to police.

Alleva called police again about two hours later to report he and his manager had driven to the Sleepy's location at 390 Arsenal Road and found the vehicle the would-be sign-stealer had been driving, according to Morrison's arrest affidavit.

An officer spoke with Morrison, who admitted he pulled up the signs but insisted he apologized to Alleva, according to police. Alleva said he doesn't remember any apology.

"I shouldn't have taken the signs," Morrison told the officer, according to his arrest affidavit.

Prior run-ins? "Morrison advised he and the management from Mattress Warehouse have been going back and forth for years," and he alleged signs have been stolen in the past, the affidavit states.

Alleva has a different theory.

"They are jealous of Mattress Warehouse being the No.1 (mattress) retailer in Pennsylvania," he claimed.

Morrison's attorney, Jenna Fliszar, did not return a phone message seeking comment.

-- Staff writer Liz Evans Scolforo can also be reached at