Three-year-old Darien bank robbery case slated for trial
STAMFORD -- The alleged ringleader of a Darien bank robbery is taking his case to trial three years after being accused of recruiting two Stamford men, one a bank employee, to help him break into the vault and steal nearly $158,000.
Floyd Lawrence, 38, of Henry Street, Stamford, faces felony robbery, larceny and kidnapping charges for allegedly robbing the Commerce Bank on the Post Road in Darien in June 2008 with two accomplices. Authorities say the heist was part of a plan they hatched as gym buddies.
Lawrence has been incarcerated since his arrest in July 2008, and a year later, was sentenced to serve the seven years remaining on a prison sentence from a robbery conviction in 2000. His defense attorney, Frank Riccio II, said Lawrence refused a plea bargain and opted for a jury. Jury selection is slated to begin March 11.
"The prosecutor has made an attempt to settle the case, and Mr. Lawrence doesn't see that offer as fair," Riccio said.
Senior Assistant State's Attorney Richard Colangelo said Lawrence faces a maximum of 20 years in prison based on the first-degree robbery charge alone. The maximum penalty could double if the jury convicts Lawrence of being a dangerous persistent felony offender, Colangelo said.
Lawrence is accused of recruiting Klaus Pierre-Louis and Stanley Romsaint, both of Stamford, to help in his robbery plan, according to court documents. Pierre-Louis and Romsaint were 20 at the time.
Darien police investigators say that on June 12, 2008, Lawrence and a masked man accosted Pierre-Louis, a bank employee, and his co-worker as they opened the bank in the morning. Lawrence and the other man were armed and ordered Pierre-Louis and the other employee into the bank vault. They left with $158,000.
A fourth suspect, Damien Bailey, 31, of 101 Columbus Place, Stamford, was identified by a witness as one of two men who walked into the bank with a gun.
Romsaint and Lawrence ordered motorcycles from the same White Plains, N.Y., dealership on the day of the robbery, a fact that, along with a witness statement and surveillance video, helped police track them down.
Lawrence is being held in lieu of $750,000 bond. Romsaint and Pierre-Louis pleaded guilty, agreeing to serve suspended jail sentence in exchange for cooperating with authorities.