Tropeano lawyer: Client defended self, property from ‘dangerous gang’

A Hulda Lane homeowner who shot and injured a Waterbury teen in an aborted car theft last June is set to appear back in court on July 13.

The new hearing comes over a year after Mauro Tropeano fired on a group of teens from Waterbury, who were attempting to steal the Range Rover parked in the driveway of his Hulda Lane home during the early morning hours of June 5, 2017, according to court documents.

“Mr. Tropeano maintains his position that his actions, in the middle of the night at his own home, were to defend himself and his property from a dangerous gang of marauding thieves who engaged in other criminal activities that night in the area,” said Eugene Riccio, Tropeano’s lawyer from the Bridgeport partners Young and Riccio, in a statement last week.

Pills, weed, guns, and cash

Tropeano pled not guilty to all charges against him, including two charges stemming from the shooting for felony assault in the second degree, and a misdemeanor of illegal discharge of a firearm.

He was also charged with “illegal sale, distribution, manufacture/non-drug dependent person” of drugs— a felony, after police searched his home and found seven pounds of marijuana, more than 200 unmarked pills, and $26,000 in cash stuffed in a five-gallon water jug.

Police also found several firearms — at the time of his arrest, he was licensed to carry three firearms.

Tropeano was also charged with misdemeanor resisting arrest.

According to police, Tropeano was initially evasive when investigators asked to test his hands for gunpowder residue during a police interview on June 5. Tropeano reportedly told the detectives he had a meeting to attend, and left the interview in a hurry.

Court documents later revealed that video surveillance cameras Tropeano installed on the outside of his home showed a gun was “clearly visible” in the waistband of his pants on the night of the shooting.

Waterbury group

Months after the shooting, Tropeano released a statement admitting he had fired his Glock that night. A 15-year-old girl from Waterbury was struck in the back, and the group later dropped her off at Waterbury Hospital, after they fled Tropeano’s residence and stopped to pick up another stolen vehicle.

The girl, unidentified by police due to her age, initially said she had been shot on the street in Waterbury, before admitting to investigators that she and a group of friends had gone to Ridgefield to steal cars.

She was charged with conspiracy to commit larceny in the first degree, along with another 16 year-old-girl police say was also involved in the attempted car theft.

The Waterbury gang has continued to steal cars in Ridgefield and other affluent areas since the shooting, according to police reports. The group typically targets unlocked cars left in residential driveways, which are stolen in the dead of night with the keys left in the vehicle.

“This same gang has also continued to engage in this type of perilous activity at other peoples’ homes subsequent to this terrifying event in Ridgefield,” Riccio said.