Building manager accused of pillaging dead man’s treasures

A dead tenant, missing precious stones and antiques, and an inquisitive family member — and it’s not a movie.

The building manager at a posh Pacific Heights apartment building is facing several counts of burglary after police found him Wednesday in possession of more than $100,000 in precious stones and antique guns allegedly pilfered from a dead tenant.

Police found a trove of booty in the apartment of Jim Sozzi, 42, including eight antique revolvers, a Colt .45, a Remington .380, diamonds, pearls, gold chains, rings, amethysts and amber. The treasure apparently belonged to a recently deceased gemologist who lived above Sozzi at 2070 Pacific Ave.

After the elderly jewelry wholesaler died Feb. 1, family became suspicious as they were working through his will. His nephew called police, and Officers Troy Carrasco and John Fergus from the Richmond Station went out to the apartment building. They found Sozzi — a convicted felon on parole until 2010 — in the foyer.

The officers soon learned that some of the guns in his apartment were loaded and they arrested Sozzi. He had apparently used a master key to the building to enter the dead man’s apartment at least three times to take his pick of the goods, according to police spokesman Sgt. Steve Mannina.

Police believe Sozzi had already pawned much of the jewelry. He was booked on several counts of burglary, possession of stolen property and firearms charges.

The Hanford-Freund and Co. property manager who is in charge of the building was out of town Thursday and unable to comment, a receptionist at the firm said.

bbegin@examiner.com

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