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Outrage in Italy as 'hero' jeweller who shot dead two robbers jailed for 17 years

Moment furious Mario Rogerro, 67, opens fire on gang of robbers shooting two dead after they raided his boutique (Ministero Della Giustizia)
Moment furious Mario Rogerro, 67, opens fire on gang of robbers shooting two dead after they raided his boutique (Ministero Della Giustizia)

A jeweller who shot dead two robbers who targeted his shop in Italy has been jailed for 17 years, sparking an outcry.

Mario Roggero’s store in the town of Grinzane Cavour in the northern Piedmont region, was held up by three men in an armed robbery in April 2021.

They tied up his daughter and threatened him and his wife with a pistol.

Mr Rogerro chased after the robbers and shot dead Giuseppe Mazzarino, 58, and Andrea Spinelli, 44. He also injured a third robber, Alessandro Modica, 35, who was arrested hours later.

He told the Italian press of the ordeal: “They made me count down: five, four, three. I think I could be dead."

Now a court has sentenced the shopkeeper to a seventeen-year jail term after prosecutors said the killing amounted to vigilante justice.

 (Ministero Della Giustizia)
(Ministero Della Giustizia)

But several senior right-wing politicians in Italy have protested the sentence, saying Mr Rogerro had the right to defend himself.

He told Italian outlet Corriere della Sera: “The State does nothing to defend a citizen who has worked and paid taxes for fifty years.”

He added that locals had backed his actions, saying: “They are all on my side. There are some who are not with me. But they are few. They tell me that I am a fascist. But I am not.”

Among those defending the shopkeeper were Italy’s deputy prime minister, Matteo Salvini, who expressed “full solidarity.”

Mr Salvini said: “He worked hard all his life, and he was just trying to defend his family and his business.

“The real criminals are the ones who deserve prison, not people like Mario.”

The 67-year-old told his trial he had chased the men because he feared they had kidnapped his wife.

He added that he had been robbed and beaten in 2015 and suffered trauma from the experience that affected his judgement during the 2021 incident.

However, judges said his actions did not amount to legitimate self defence. He was also ordered to pay €280,000 in compensation to the families of the two men he shot dead, alongside the jail sentence.

Italian media reported that he intends to appeal the sentence, which he denounced as “a victory for criminality”.