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Bank robbery suspect opts for jury trial

Published 4:14 pm, Wednesday, September 5, 2012
  • Serena Viccaro was set Sept. 6, 2012 to begin her jury trial as a suspect in the Jan. 18, 2011 robbery at the Main Street branch of Webster Bank in New Milford. Photo: Contributed Photo
    Serena Viccaro was set Sept. 6, 2012 to begin her jury trial as a suspect in the Jan. 18, 2011 robbery at the Main Street branch of Webster Bank in New Milford. Photo: Contributed Photo

 

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Former Webster Bank teller Serena Viccaro will have her day in court to face charges related to a Jan. 2011 robbery of the bank's New Milford branch at which she worked.

The jury trial starts Thursday, Sept. 6, at state Superior Court in Litchfield, where Ms. Viccaro, 22, will face charges of conspiracy to commit first-degree robbery, conspiracy to commit first-degree larceny and other charges.

Ms. Viccaro was implicated in the Jan. 18, 2011 robbery of the bank's Main Street branch by Preston Hanlon, 28, who was charged in the robbery.

Police said Mr. Hanlon told investigators at the time of his arrest that Ms. Viccaro was involved in the robbery with him.

Mr. Hanlon was convicted of first-degree robbery in August 2011. He was sentenced in October to 15 years in prison, to be suspended after five years -- the mandatory sentence for a first-degree robbery conviction.

Ms. Viccaro's attorney, Murray Kessler, said recently his client is innocent.

"She has from the beginning maintained her innocence," Mr. Kessler said. "The account that she was involved came from the only person who really did the crime."

Mr. Kessler said he has reviewed all of the reports on the robbery and the arrests.

"I don't believe the state has a case," he said. "There is absolutely no evidence of criminal action on her part.

"A complete review of the situation will show that her actions before, during and after the robbery indicate that she is innocent of all charges," he added.

Court records show Ms. Viccaro had a relationship with Mr. Hanlon before the robbery. She told investigators Mr. Hanlon said it would be "easy" to rob a bank but "she thought it was all talk," court documents state.

Court documents further state Ms. Viccaro began crying when told by police Mr. Hanlon was in custody.

When asked why she was crying, she said "she and Mr. Hanlon were involved in a relationship and that she could not understand why he would point a gun at her," the arrest warrant states.

Michael Joel Thaisz, 25, a roommate of Mr. Hanlon and charged in the crime on accessory and conspiracy charges, has also pleaded not guilty.

His case is in pretrial with a next court date Sept. 18.

stuz@newstimes.com; 860-355-7322