Pizzeria reopens following deadly robbery

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Pizzeria to reopen following teen's killing

After eight days that have included both grief and fear, Reginelli's Pizzaria in Bellaire has reopened.

A week ago Sunday, one of its employees, who agreed to switch shifts with a co-worker, was killed on the job by a robber, who shot the 19-year-old graduate of Bellaire High School. According to witnesses, Peter Mielke didn't open the cash register quickly enough.

The killer left without money, but took a life of a young man who aspired to be a sports reporter. Mielke left behind a family and friends who loved him.

To honor his memory, the Darryl Reginelli announced the restaurant has created a scholarship in Peter's memory. "To help a Bellaire student with an education," he said.

Today, he said a pastor was brought in before the pizzeria resumed operation, to pray with the staff. "There is nothing that prepares you for something like this," Reginelli said.

Bellaire police have been given some tips by Crime Stoppers, but an arrest has not been made in the murder. Such crimes are rare in this city, which has been transformed from a middle class community to an upper-income enclave, surrounded by Houston. The last time most recall a robbery/murder at a Bellaire business was nearly 30 years ago, when three employees at an ice cream shop were shot.

"It's hit home to every parent," said one assistant chief. "On a Sunday, working a part-time job, it could have been their child."

At the Bellaire Broiler Burger, a fixture here since the '50's, manager Vicki Martin is taking steps to keep her employees safe. "We're being more careful about people who come in after dark to pick up to-go orders. Customers are being asked what they ordered, and their order number before we let them in. I'm also telling my workers not to take trash outside after dark. We can do that in the morning."

Peter Mielke's mother asked if she could put up a flyer at the Broiler Burger Saturday. On it is the picture of her son's killer from security video, and a number to Crime Stoppers. The flyer is taped near the front door, where people can see it. "I can't imagine what she must be going through," said Martin.

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