Professional Jeweler Archive: Jeweler and Family Killed at Home

February 2003


Jeweler & Family Killed at Home

A visiting grandmother opens door to robbers

Marco Pesce, a 38-year-old Livonia, MI, jeweler, was shot to death along with his mother and three children at his home Dec. 21, according to Detroit-area newspaper reports.

Two parolees, Dennis Lincoln, 27, of Flint, MI, and John Wolfenbarger, 31, of Detroit, MI, were arrested and charged with the murders within days of the event. Police say the suspects trailed several jewelers in Livonia and nearby Dearborn before choosing Pesce, who ran a strip mall jewelry store called Italia. The two exconvicts had heard in early December about a safe full of jewels and gold in the Pesce house, according to newspaper reports.

They went to Pesce’s home posing as deliverymen and were admitted by Maria Vegato, 68, Pesce’s mother, who was visiting from Italy. They tried to get his children, ages 6, 9 and 12, to open a 3,000-pound safe, but the children apparently didn’t know the combination. The robbers had Pesce’s 12-year-old son call Pesce at his store to say there was an emergency, drawing him into the home as well. All five victims were executed from behind.

John Kennedy, president of the Jewelers’ Security Alliance, says the Livonia case is not typical of home robberies of jewelers, which usually don’t involve homicides. Often, a jeweler is simply abducted to his store, where the robbers take merchandise. Execution-style slayings are rarely seen in the jewelry industry, he adds.

To minimize risk of at-home incidents, JSA recommends jewelers not keep merchandise in their homes, install an alarm system and outside lighting with a motion detector, and refuse to open the door to unexpected visitors or delivery people. Also, get an unlisted phone number, keep a cellular phone nearby, vary your route to work and instruct family members, babysitters and neighbors to stay alert and follow security procedures when necessary.

It’s particularly important, he adds, for jewelers to go over safety and security rules with visiting relatives and friends, such as never opening the door to strangers. Also develop a code phrase for family members to use on the phone to alert jewelers there’s trouble. The phrase should be a statement unlikely to arouse intruders’ suspicions.

Copyright © 2002 by Bond Communications