Suspects charged in Stamford homicide, Greenwich robbery
GREENWICH — Federal authorities have charged three men in connection with the robbery of a Stamford jewelry store and the shooting death of its owner in late March. And one of those suspects was behind the armed hold-up of a jewelry store in Byram just 10 days before.
The U.S. attorney’s office announced Thursday that Robert Rallo, 56, of Brooklyn, N.Y.; Thomas Liberatore, 62, of White Plains, N.Y., and Paul Prosano, also known as “Tony Pro,” 59, of Brooklyn; have been charged with federal robbery offenses in connection with the March 28 robbery of Marco Jewelers in Stamford. During the robbery, the owner, Mark Vuono, was shot and killed.
Liberatore committed the armed robbery of Byram Jewelers on Mill Street in the Byram section of Greenwich on March 18.
In Stamford, Vuono was killed by a bullet wound to the head at his store on Sixth Street. The 69-year-old businessman was found by a customer on the afternoon of March 28. The federal complaint said he was found “lying on the ground in front of an open safe.”
According to the federal prosecutors, Prosano drove Rallo and Liberatore in a black Jaguar to Marco Jewelers, and Rallo and Liberatore then entered the store.
Rallo, armed with a handgun, engaged in a physical altercation with Vuono, while Liberatore stole items from the display cases, the federal complaint said. Vuono, who also carried a firearm, and Rallo struggled next to a large open safe, prosecutors said.
During the struggle, Rallo reached into the safe and pulled out a third firearm, a .357 Magnum revolver, prosecutors said. Rallo subsequently shot and killed Vuono with the .357 revolver, the complaint states.
Law enforcement officials later located the black Jaguar on Staten Island and maintained surveillance on it, the federal prosecutors said.
According to the account from the U.S. attorney’s office: “Rallo exited the rear door of the BMW and entered the driver’s door of a black Jaguar. The two vehicles then left the area and rapidly accelerated. The Jaguar crashed on Tompkins Street. Rallo attempted to flee on foot, but was quickly apprehended. The BMW crashed into a tree and parked car at the intersection of Daniel Low Terrace and Corson Avenue. Prosano also attempted to flee and was apprehended.”
Authorities said they recovered from the BMW a large amount of jewelry from the Stamford store: 63 rings, eight bracelets, two tie pins, an earring and a cuff link. A subsequent search of Prosano’s residence turned up 23 pairs of earrings and three rings, the federal authorities stated — all items stolen from Marco Jewelers on March 28, as well.
Police said that Liberatore, the suspect in the Greenwich robbery, was taken down with an FBI tactical-response unit, with Greenwich police officers taking part. He was arrested March 30.
According to the federal complaint, Liberatore stole a Honda Civic from a car dealer in Yonkers, N.Y., and drove to Byram Jewelers. “He entered the store at approximately 4:45 p.m. and asked a store employee to show him engagement rings. He then pointed a pistol at the employee, stole several rings, smashed a display case with his pistol and stole other items before exiting the store,” the complaint said.
No one was injured in the robbery at Byram Jewelers.
Greenwich police said the arrests came as a result of a wide-ranging investigation.
“Mutual efforts by several police agencies resulted in all of the suspects being taken into custody and bringing justice to the victims of these crimes. Greenwich Police Detective Carlos Franco was crucial in obtaining early evidence, which led to the identification of the Greenwich robbery suspect and provided critical information for both investigations,” police Capt. Robert Berry said.
“We hope that these efforts provide some solace to the victims and we want to assure the public that we will aggressively pursue any criminal who targets our community.”
Stamford police last Saturday announced a major break in the homicide case. On Thursday, Stamford police Capt. Richard Conklin said, “During this crisis within a crisis, which created many logistical obstacles, federal and local agencies worked hand in hand and got this job done.”
The suspects were cited with federal charges of robbery involving interstate conspiracy, an offense that carries a maximum prison term of 20 years. They were detained in New York on state parole violations.
Authorities described the three suspects as having extensive criminal histories. The three men met while behind bars within the New York State Department of Correction, federal prosecutors said Thursday.
Vuono was a married father of two.
“He believed in treating everyone fairly and took pride in his work,” according to his family. Vuono was an excellent craftsman and good with his hands. He enjoyed traveling and visits to Latin America.
A memorial service will be held at a later date.
“We continue to emphasize collaboration in our law enforcement efforts and are proud of all of the detectives and investigators involved in this case,” Greenwich Police Chief Heavey said. “Our sincerest condolences go out to the family of Mark Vuono, owner of Marco Jewelers.”
U.S. Attorney John Durham noted that the multiple agencies deserved extra credit “due to this pandemic, an especially challenging time for law enforcement.”