Two Massachusetts men have been sentenced to prison Wednesday in connection to a 2014 robbery, one in which three Leicester residents were bound and gagged while three thieves took off with jewelry and a World War II Marine veteran’s Purple Heart.
Timothy Lavin, 39, of Leicester, and Nicholas Desiderio, 36, of Worcester, were both found guilty of three counts of armed robbery while masked in addition to home invasion charges.
Lavin was also found guilty of firearms possession without a Firearms ID card (Massachusetts requires ID cards and registration for firearms and ammunition), ammunition possession without an FID card and driving while suspended.
The two men tied up their victims -the homeowner, his daughter and her boyfriend- and duct-taped their mouths before raiding a safe in the home.
Of the myriad of items stolen from the safe was the a Purple Heart, which was given to the homeowner by his father, who was wounded at Iwo Jima in 1945.
While two of the three men were captured and convicted, one man remains on the run and the Purple Heart was never recovered.
This was a great team effort,” Worcester County District Attorney Joseph D. Early Jr. said in a statement. “Chief Jim Hurley, Detective Tim Fontaine and Sgt. Paul Doray did a very thorough investigation tracking down leads and searching through trash for evidence. ADAs Joe Simmons, Dannon Stacer and Nathaniel Beaudoin did a great job at the grand jury level and prosecuting. The theft of this war hero’s Purple Heart and the possible permanent loss to the family was never lost on the police and our prosecutors.”
According to Patch, Lavin was sentenced to total of 35-40 years for his crimes, which will begin after he serves a 20-year sentence for another home invasion. Desiderio will serve 10-12 years for his role in the robbery.
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