Federal Charges Announced for Violent Robbers of Stamford Jewelry Store

On Wednesday a federal grand jury in New Haven charged three men with violent robbery of Marco Jewelers in Stamford on March 28.

The charges were announced on Thursday by Greenwich Police Chief James Heavey, US Attorney John Durham, State’s Attorney Richard J Colangelo Jr, FBI Special Agent in Charge David Sundberg, Stamford Police Chief Timothy Shaw.

One of the men, Thomas Liberatore, 62, of White Plains, NY, had allegedly robbed Byram Jewelers at gunpoint 10 days earlier after asking to look at engagement rings.

Police activity at corner of Delavan Ave and North Water Street. March 18, 2020 Photo: Leslie Yager

Two of the men face life imprisonment, or the death penalty, for murder.

In addition to Mr. Liberatore, Robert Rallo, 56, Paul Prosano, also known as “Tony Pro,” 60, both Brooklyn, were charged with federal offenses.

During the robbery, the owner of Marco Jewelers was shot and killed.

It is alleged that the three men have extensive criminal histories and met while inmates in the New York State Department of Corrections.

On the afternoon of March 28, 2020, Stamford Police responded to the jewelry store where they found the store owner, Mark Vuono, lying on the ground in front of an open safe. 

Emergency medical personnel arrived and pronounced Vuono deceased.

Investigators collected video from the jewelry store, surrounding businesses and Stamford city cameras. 

Video revealed that, on March 28, Prosano drove Rallo and Liberatore in a black Jaguar to Marco Jewelers.  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. 

Vuono, who also possessed a firearm, and Rallo struggled next to a large open safe.  During the more than three-minute struggle, Rallo pulled a .357 Magnum revolver from the safe and shot and killed Vuono.

Following the robbery, law enforcement located the black Jaguar in Staten Island and maintained surveillance on the vehicle. 

On March 30 a black BMW X3, driven by Prosano, pulled up beside the black Jaguar.  Rallo exited the rear door of the BMW and entered the driver’s door of a black Jaguar.  The two vehicles sped away.

The Jaguar crashed and Rallo attempted to flee on foot, but was apprehended. 

The BMW also crashed and Prosano also attempted to flee and was apprehended.

A search of the BMW revealed 63 rings, eight bracelets, two tie pins, an earring and a cufflink.

A search of Prosano’s residence revealed 23 pairs of earrings and three rings.  It is alleged that these items were stolen from Marco Jewelers on March 28.  Liberatore also was arrested on March 30.

The men have been detained in New York on state parole violation charges since their arrests.

Wednesday’s indictment charges the three men with interference with commerce by robbery, “Hobbs Act robbery,” an offense that carries a maximum prison term of 20 years, and with interstate transportation of stolen property, an offense that carries a maximum prison term of 10 years.

The indictment also charges Rallo, aided and abetted by Liberatore, with using a firearm to cause a death during a robbery.  If convicted of this offense, Rallo and Liberatore face a mandatory prison term of life, or death if the government seeks the death penalty.

Prior to the Marco Jewelers robbery, on March 18, 2020, Liberatore allegedly drove a Honda Civic he had stolen from a car dealer in Yonkers, New York, to Byram Jewelers in Greenwich which he robbed at gunpoint after asking to look at engagement rings.

On June 3, 2020, Liberatore was charged in a separate indictment with one count of interference with commerce by robbery, one count of possession and brandishing of a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence, and one count of interstate transportation of a stolen vehicle.  If convicted of the firearm charge, he faces a mandatory minimum prison term of 10 years, which must be imposed consecutively to any other sentence.

US Attorney Durham stressed that an indictment is not evidence of guilt. 

This investigation is being conducted by the Greenwich Police, FBI, Stamford Police with the assistance of the NYPD out of Yonkers and New Rochelle.

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