Detectives spend time at Lakeside restaurant where Belvedere brothers worked

Two neighbors say they noticed something 'odd'

SAN DIEGO - San Diego detectives told Team 10 on Thursday they are expanding the scope of their investigation into a triple homicide that began on Christmas Eve at Westfield Mission Valley Mall.

They were seen working the case at Mario's Ristorante Italiano on Woodside Avenue in Lakeside, where two of the victims worked - brothers Salvatore and Gianni Belvedere. The third victim was Gianni's fiancee, Ilona Flint.

Detectives would not elaborate on how the scope of the investigation would expand, and a news conference was scheduled for 10 a.m. Friday (the news conference will be streamed online on 10News.com and on mobile devices).

Team 10 found as of early Thursday afternoon, many neighbors to the restaurant had not been questioned by police.

One neighbor's property is adjacent to the restaurant's parking lot. Emmanuel Sandoval said he never noticed anything too odd, except one thing.

"The restaurant is only open Thursday through Sunday -- never a car in the lot, all day or night," Sandoval said. At least, not the times he looked past his property, which sits on a hill over the parking lot.

Another neighbor, who did not want to be identified, also said it appeared to him the restaurant was closed Mondays through Wednesdays.

Team 10 asked a Mario's worker if the restaurant was closed on those days, and she said no, they always were open except for Super Bowl Sunday.

Workers at a mechanics shop across the street said they never noticed anything odd, and one of the owners of a building and construction business behind the restaurant also said she never noticed anything odd.

Team 10 witnessed two of the detectives taking notes while talking to a woman on a bench outside the restaurant.

Also, Team 10 noticed one detective sat in an unmarked city car in the parking lot for at least one hour. It appeared she was on the phone.

A fourth detective was not seen until it appeared the group was leaving.

In addition to the four detectives, Team 10 also saw several sheriff's deputies sitting in their cars in the parking lot. A restaurant worker said they were at Mario's for a party.

The San Diego detectives are taking the lead on the murders of Flint and Salvatore Belvedere, who were both shot in the head in a car in the mall parking lot last month.

Riverside police are taking the lead on Gianni Belvedere's homicide. He was found dead in the trunk of his car in Riverside last Friday.

Police have not said if there are any suspects, but both departments encourage anyone from the public to reach out with any information they think may help the case.

Mario's is owned by several different people, some of whom are relatives to the Belvedere brothers, according to public records. An uncle confirmed to Team 10 they did work there, but it's not clear for how long.

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