Triolo guilty of Vergennes armed robbery
BURLINGTON — A serial armed robber, who used a handgun to steal more than $6,100 from a clerk at the Small City Market in Vergennes this past May, has pleaded guilty to robberies at three Vermont convenience stores.
Mark Triolo, 46, pointed a pistol at the head of a clerk at the Small City Market during the May 1, 2018, robbery, authorities said. The robber stole about $6,115 before fleeing the store at the corner of Main and South Water streets at about 9:05 p.m., Vergennes Police Chief George Merkel said.
Three days later police in Brattleboro shot Triolo multiple times after he robbed two southeastern Vermont stores earlier in the evening, the FBI reported. It was part of a four-month, multi-state crime spree by Triolo, officials said.
Triolo entered guilty pleas in U.S. District Court in Burlington last Thursday for the robberies at the Small City Market, the Ascutney Sunoco Station on Route 131 in Weathersfield and the Allen Brothers Farm Stand on Route 5 in Westminster, both on May 4. Until last week, Triolo was charged in federal court with only the Vergennes robbery. The U.S. Attorney’s Office added two more counts charging he unlawfully obtained personal property from the store clerks by means of actual and threatened force and fear of injury. As part of the signed plea agreement, Triolo is asking the sentencing judge to consider his cooperation by admitting his guilt instead of forcing a full trial.
Triolo faces up to 20 years in prison for each robbery. Once released from prison he also would face up to 3 years of supervised release on each robbery. He also could be fined up to $250,000 on each robbery and ordered to make restitution to the stores. Federal Judge Christina Reiss ordered a presentence investigation report by the U.S. Probation Office. The sentencing is tentatively set for June 3 in Burlington.
U.S. deputy marshals returned Triolo to the Southern Vermont Correctional Facility in Springfield at the end of his change of plea hearing. Magistrate Judge John M. Conroy had ruled at the June 2018 arraignment that Triolo was a flight risk and a danger to the community.
Triolo came to the attention of Vermont law enforcement after back-to-back armed robberies in Queensbury, N.Y., on April 30 and Vergennes on May 1.
The Warren County (N.Y.) Sheriff’s Department called Vergennes police to report deputies had seen a report about the market robbery on social media and deputies believed the same suspect had robbed more than $200 from the Speedway store on Aviation Road in Queensbury, N.Y., on April 30, authorities said.
Vermont State Police responded to Kampersville in Salisbury; the campground owner reported the robber was staying there, the FBI said. A trooper went to the campsite, but found only an empty vodka bottle, FBI Special Agent Colin Simons said in a court affidavit. Vergennes Det. Sgt. Jason Ouellette later spoke with the campground owner and learned Triolo had planned to stay for two days and leave May 3. A review of security camera video from the campground confirmed the camper and the robber was the same person and the hat worn in both robberies were the same, Simons said. Triolo’s multi-state crime spree came to an end when he was shot on Black Mountain Road in Brattleboro shortly after the two armed robberies in Southern Vermont the night of May 4, police said.
After being hospitalized under armed guard for a month, Triolo was released and eventually taken to federal court in Burlington for his arraignment. Triolo’s possible federal court trial was delayed with at least three defense motions seeking to get his other legal problems resolved. Records and court statements indicated Triolo also was facing a state charge in Texas in late January 2018 for a parole violation in an aggravated assault case, a federal charge in Topeka, Kan., for bank robbery on April 26, 2018, and a state charge in New York for the armed robbery on April 30 in Queensbury. He also was a possible suspect in another bank robbery from last spring, officials said.
The 7-page signed plea agreement says it can only cover crimes that could be charged by federal prosecutors in Vermont. It “cannot bind other federal, state or local prosecuting authorities,” the document notes.
Windham County State’s Attorney Tracy Shriver and Vermont Attorney General T.J. Donovan announced in August that they would not file any charges against the four police officers involved in the shooting that led to Triolo’s capture. Three were with Brattleboro Police Sgt. Steven “Chase” Stanley and Officers Sean Wilson and Michael Cable, along with Vermont State Police Trooper Jason Lengfellner assigned to the Westminster barracks. Additionally, now-Lt. Adam Petlock of Brattleboro police and Trooper Joshua Gagnon of the state police were at the scene, but never discharged their firearms, officials said.
Triolo sustained gunshot wounds to the legs and one to his chest, according to his federal public defender during the June court arraignment.
Conroy ordered Triolo detained as both a flight risk and a danger to the community. Triolo was sentenced in 1999 in Texas to 25 years in prison on charges of aggravated robbery and aggravated assault against a public servant, but was freed Dec. 20, 2016, news accounts show. The plan was to have him on parole in Texas until 2024, but on Jan. 4, 2018, an arrest warrant was issued because he failed to meet the conditions of release and was classified “an absconder,” the news accounts indicated. Lewisville (Texas) Police Department reported Triolo removed his GPS bracelet before leaving Texas in a vehicle stolen from the mother-in-law of his girlfriend, Deborah Greenfield, officials said.
Vergennes police said they learned from Lewisville police that Triolo was on state parole for armed robbery when he stole the car and he removed a tracking bracelet installed by his parole officer. Triolo then sent a text message to the Greenfields that read “by now the feds have contacted you about me, sorry about that. I’ve robbed too many banks in the last few days for this to end well. Just put the kua (sic) on a car hauler should be there in ten days look in the door panel of the driver’s door it’s stuffed with cash keep your mouth shut about it and no one will know. Sorry I know I ducked up love you guys. Don’t try and text me back ditching the phone so I can’t be tracked.”
The stolen 2007 Kia Sorento with Texas license plates was the getaway car in the two robberies on May 4, police said. About 25 minutes after the second robbery near Interstate 91 exit 5 that night, police spotted the car parked at the I-91 Exit 3 Mobil gasoline station in Brattleboro, the FBI said. Triolo went inside the store to buy three Mike’s Hard Lemonades and when he came out Brattleboro officers tried to move in, but the driver fled at a high rate of speed about 8:41 p.m.
About nine minutes later, a resident on Black Mountain Road reported a suspicious car had pulled into a driveway and shut off the lights. Police found nobody with the car, but Triolo was located hiding nearby in a wood line about 9:04 p.m., the FBI said. He was ordered to stop and show his hands and when he didn’t, Brattleboro and state police officers wounded him, the FBI said. The officers provided first aid until rescue personnel arrived to take him to the hospital.
Police said investigators never found a firearm at the scene, but later located an unloaded Daisy Powerline 340 pellet gun in the front seat of the car.
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