Government Police/Fire

Woman Who Robbed West Hartford Bank Given 30-Month Prison Sentence

A Middletown woman who robbed the People’s United Bank branch inside a West Hartford Stop & Shop will serve a 30-month federal prison term.

By Ronni Newton

The U.S. Attorney’s Office announced Tuesday that Jalania Pantano, 28, formerly of Middletown, has been sentenced by U.S. District Judge Jeffrey A. Meyer in New Haven to a 30-month federal prison term in connection with the robbery of the People’s United Bank branch located inside the Stop & Shop store at 176 Newington Road in West Hartford on July 20, 2022.

Pantano pleaded guilty to one count of bank robbery on Aug. 23, 2023, and will also be subject to three years of supervised release following her prison sentence, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

During the robbery Pantano and her boyfriend, Gino Rizzo, entered the bank branch and presented notes to two tellers stating “Give us the money with no dye packs or GPS,” according to court documents and statements made in court, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said. Pantano and Rizzo were provided with $1,599 in cash and they then left the bank branch and the Stop & Shop.

Rizzo was also tied to previous robberies of People’s United Bank branches inside the Stop & Shop supermarkets in Glastonbury on July 16, 2022, and in Newington on July 18, 2022, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Rizzo was arrested on July 21, 2022 and Pantano was arrested on Aug. 30, 2022. Both were initially detained but while release awaiting trial, on April 11, 2023, both Pantano and Rizzo disconnected their GPS electronic monitoring bracelets and absconded from their court-mandated rehabilitation centers.

Pantano was re-arrested on May 24, and has been detained since then. Rizzo, who was re-arrested on May 22, also remains in custody.

August 23, 2023, she pleaded guilty to one count of bank robbery.

Rizzo pleaded guilty on July 25, 2023, and remains detained awaiting sentencing.

Police departments in West Hartford, Glastonbury, Newington, and Middletown were involved with the investigation, along with the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The case has been prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Stephanie T. Levick and Robert S. Dearington.

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