Car theft shooting case returns to court Aug. 21

Photo of Peter Yankowski

A Ridgefield homeowner who admitted to shooting a 15-year-old Waterbury girl during an attempted car robbery in 2017 will appear in Danbury Superior Court Aug. 21 for pre-trial proceedings.

Mauro Tropeano, 35, was charged with second-degree assault, sale of illegal drugs, illegal discharge of a firearm, and interfering with an officer on Aug. 21, 2017.

Police said Tropeano fired on a group of youths attempting to steal a Land Rover parked in the driveway of his Hulda Lane home during the overnight hours of June 5, 2017.

One of the would-be-thieves — a 15-year-old-girl from Waterbury — was struck by a 9mm bullet fired from Tropeano’s handgun.

The girl told police she and five other friends had gone to Ridgefield in a stolen white Kia they borrowed from friends in Waterbury, according to Tropeano’s arrest affidavit. They spotted the Range Rover and decided to steal it. The teens were able to start the car, but none of them could put the vehicle in reverse, she told police.

The girl said she was waiting in the Kia for two other friends who tried to reverse the Range Rover, when the homeowner came out of the house and fired three shots at them, according to the affidavit. Two bullets struck the Kia, and one of them lodged in the girl’s back,

The teen said they fled the scene in the Kia, and her friends dropped her off at Waterbury Hospital to treat her gunshot wound. Doctors were unable to remove the bullet from her back.

Tropeano initially denied having fired his gun during the aborted car theft,and abruptly left after police asked to test his hands for gunpowder residue, but police later found shell casings at his home during a search. The police search also turned up seven pounds of marijuana, steroids, and over $26,000 in cash hidden in a plastic bucket.

The teenage girl wounded in the shooting was charged with conspiracy to commit larceny in the first degree, along with another 16 year old juvenile.

Four other teenagers were also arrested in Waterbury on June 5 in connection with the attempted car theft, after they led authorities on a car chase in a stolen Ford Explorer, the Danbury NewsTimes reported.