By Lenore Fedow
Mark Vuono of Marco Jewelers in Stamford, Connecticut was shot and killed in his jewelry store March 28. Investigators have arrested and charged three suspects believed to be responsible. (Image courtesy of Marco Jewelers’ Facebook page)
Stamford, Conn.—Three suspects have been charged with robbery in the armed and fatal holdup at Marco Jewelers in Stamford late last month.

During the robbery, store owner Mark Vuono was shot and killed.

The suspects, taken into custody last week, are: Robert Rallo, 56, of Brooklyn, New York; Thomas Liberatore, 62, of White Plains, New York; and Paul “Tony Pro” Prosano 59, of Brooklyn, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Connecticut.

The defendants all have extensive criminal histories, according to court documents, and met while serving time in state prisons in New York.

Stamford police officers responded to Marco Jewelers on the afternoon of March 28 and found evidence of a robbery.

Court documents state that emergency medical personnel found Vuono lying on the ground in front of an open safe. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Video surveillance obtained by investigators shows Rallo and Liberatore arriving in a black Jaguar and entering the store.

Armed with a handgun, Rallo got into a physical altercation with Vuono while Liberatore took items from the display cases, said investigators.

Rallo and Vuono, who also had a firearm, struggled next to the open safe.

In the midst of the struggle, Rallo reached into the safe and grabbed another gun, a .357 Magnum revolver, and shot and killed Vuono, investigators said.

Law enforcement traced the black Jaguar to Staten Island, New York and kept tabs on the car.

Two days after the robbery, on the night of March 30, investigators said Prosano pulled up beside the car in a black BMW X3. Rallo exited that car and got into the driver’s side of the black Jaguar.

Police followed as the two cars sped off, both later crashing with the two men attempting to flee on foot before being apprehended.

Investigators found 63 rings, eight bracelets, two tie pins, an earring and a cufflink inside the BMW as well as 23 pairs of earrings and three rings in Prosano’s home, all of which are suspected to have been stolen from Marco Jewelers.

The third man, Liberatore, was also arrested on March 30.

Investigators allege that he was involved in another jewelry store robbery, stealing a Honda Civic from a car dealer in Yonkers, New York then driving to Greenwich, Connecticut to rob Byram Jewelers.

Liberatore entered the store and asked to see engagement rings then pulled out a pistol on the employee, broke the showcase and stole jewelry.

“These three defendants are alleged to have committed a brazen, violent robbery that left an innocent victim dead,” U.S. Attorney John H. Durham said in a press release.

“The FBI, Stamford Police, Greenwich Police and our other law enforcement partners have conducted an extraordinary investigation that resulted in the quick apprehension of these three men before they could wreak any additional havoc.”

Federal criminal complaints charge the suspects with Hobbs Act Robbery, an offense that carries a maximum term of 20 years in prison.

Additional charges are expected, said Durham, noting the investigation is ongoing in coordination with state officials.

The suspects have been detained in New York on state parole violation charges and arrest warrants have been issued, which have been lodged as detainers.

“During this crisis within a crisis, which created many logistical obstacles, federal and local agencies worked hand in hand and got this job done,” said Stamford Police Captain Richard Conklin, praising the teamwork of the various law enforcement agencies despite challenges related to COVID-19.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation, Stamford Police Department and Greenwich Police Department are conducting the investigation with the assistance of the New York Police Department, Yonkers Police Department and New Rochelle Police Department.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jocelyn Courtney Kaoutzanis and Rahul Kale.

TAGS:   Crime , Retail
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