Youths lured pizza men to deaths ambush

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The Independent Online
Franklin, New Jersey - Two teenagers "looking for a victim" lured two pizza delivery men to an abandoned house and killed them in a hail of gunfire.

The 17- and 18-year-olds are accused of phoning four pizza parlours before they found one that would deliver to the remote, rural house. When the delivery men drove up and lowered the car window to hand out the pizza, the boys ambushed them, police said.

"I don't know what they had on their minds," said Police Chief Pete Vahaly, who is more used to responding to domestic violence and shoplifting complaints in this usually quiet New Jersey town.

After the men were shot in their car, they were dragged out, placed face down on the ground and shot in the head. The last shots were described as being "like an execution", though police said that both victims were probably already dead.

Georgio Gallara, 24, who owned Tony's Pizza and Pasta in neighbouring Hardyston, and his employee, Jeremy Giordano, 22, were killed.

The teenagers were arrested early on Monday at their homes after calls to pizza parlours were traced to a phone booth outside a doughnut shop, where they were spotted by witnesses.

At one of the other pizza shops, manager Tim Kiester said the caller had trouble answering routine questions about his address and phone number. Mr Kiester said he had a "gut feeling" that something was wrong and told his employee not to make the delivery.

Thomas J Koskovich, 18, was charged with two counts of murder and weapons violations. The 17-year-old was held on juvenile charges. Both pleaded not guilty.