Fifth Conspirator Admits to the Robbery of an Owings Mills Jewelry Store Including Kidnapping and Brandishing a Gun
BALTIMORE, MD—Aleksey Sosonko, age 35, of Owings Mills, Maryland, pleaded guilty today to conspiracy, kidnapping, and brandishing a firearm in relation to a crime of violence, in connection with the robbery of a jewelry store, including a home invasion robbery, carjacking and kidnapping.
The guilty plea was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Special Agent in Charge Kevin Perkins of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; Chief James W. Johnson of the Baltimore County Police Department; and Baltimore County State’s Attorney Scott Shellenberger.
According to his plea agreement, Sosonko was part of a conspiracy to rob an Owings Mills, Maryland, jewelry store. In the course of the conspiracy, Sosonko participated in an armed home invasion robbery designed to obtain firearms for use in the later robbery of the jewelry store.
Specifically, on July 22, 2012, Sosonko, MaratYelizarov, Grigory Zilberman and another conspirator robbed a home in Reisterstown, Maryland. Zilberman was familiar with the layout of the home, having been there as a guest on a number of occasions. Zilberman knew that the residents of the home owned firearms and he had handled and fired some of the weapons. After conducting surveillance of the home for several days prior to the robbery, at 2:30 a.m. on July 22, 2012, Sosonko, Yelizarov, Zilberman and the co-conspirator traveled to the home in Reisterstown. Dressed all in black and wearing ski masks and latex gloves, the co-conspirators entered the home through the unlocked garage door. The co-conspirator was armed with a handgun when they entered the residence. Sosonko, Yelizarov, and Zilberman grabbed long guns and carried them throughout the home. A resident of the home was asleep when the four robbers entered his bedroom and woke him up, pointing guns at him and shining flashlights in his eyes. One of the co-conspirators beat the resident when he tried to resist while another conspirator tied up the resident with a belt and a cord. For approximately one hour the robbers ransacked the home looking for firearms and other valuables. After the robbers left, the resident was able to free himself and call police. The resident was taken to the hospital for treatment of his injuries. Among the items stolen from the house were 10 long guns (rifles and shotguns), a crossbow, a laptop computer, and jewelry. Numerous electronic devices including computers and televisions were destroyed during the robbery. The value of the items stolen was approximately $10,000.
A co-conspirator devised a plan to commit an armed robbery of a jewelry store, and recruited Sosonko, Yelizarov, Zilberman, Igor Yasinov, Peter Magnis and others to participate in the robbery. Prior to the robbery, the conspirators gathered intelligence, including conducting surveillance and attaching a GPS device to the car of an employee of the jewelry store in order to learn the employee’s travel routine and habits. Zilberman also exploited his friendship with the employee to obtain information about the operation of the jewelry store and the habits of the employee.
According to Sosonko’s plea agreement, on January 15, 2013, Zilberman enticed the employee to visit his home, in order to alert the other co-conspirators of the employee’s whereabouts. While the employee was at Zilberman’s home, Sosonko, Yelizarov, Yasinov, Magnis and another conspirator met at the residence of a sixth conspirator to prepare for the kidnapping and robbery, including handling the firearms and donning masks and gloves. Yelizarov and one of the conspirators then drove to Zilberman’s home in order to alert the others of the employee’s departure. Early in the morning on January 16, 2013, Yelizarov and the other conspirator followed the employee from Zilberman’s home for a while, and then stopped. Meanwhile, Sosonko,Yasinov, Magnis and another co-conspirator, driving in a rental car obtained by Yasinov, used a law enforcement-type light bar and a loudspeaker to impersonate a police officer and pull over the employee. Brandishing firearms, Sosonko, Yasinov, Magnis and the other co-conspirator removed the employee from his car, bound and blindfolded the employee, put him into the trunk of his own car, and drove him to a predetermined location. Once at the location, Sosonko,Yasinov, Magnis, and the co-conspirator continued to brandish firearms and threatened to kill the employee’s family if he did not comply with their demands or if he reported the incident to police. The employee complied and at approximately 3:52 a.m., Sosonko and a co-conspirator drove the employee’s vehicle from the remote location to the jewelry store. Yasinov and Magnis stayed with the employee. Yelizarov and another co-conspirator were stationed near the jewelry store to act as “look-outs.” Sosonko and a co-conspirator entered the jewelry store and stole jewelry, stones, and watches, valued at about $500,000, then drove back to the remote location. The employee was then placed back into the trunk of his car and driven to another location, where he was left. The employee was able to kick his way out of the trunk through the back seat of his car. Throughout the kidnapping and robbery, Sosonko and the other conspirators used their cell phones to communicate with each other.
On January 18, 2013, one of the conspirators sold a portion of the stolen jewelry for approximately $29,000 to an FBI informant. On January 19, 2013, the conspirator traveled to Brooklyn, New York to sell some of the jewelry and stones taken during the robbery, receiving over $100,000. On January 21, 2013, the conspirator returned to Maryland and divided the cash proceeds among the members of the conspiracy and others. Sosonko received at least $60,000 for his role in the crimes.
Sosonko faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison for the robbery conspiracy; a maximum of life in prison for kidnapping; and a minimum mandatory sentence of seven years, and a maximum of life in prison for brandishing a firearm in relation to a crime of violence. U.S. District Judge J. Frederick Motz has scheduled sentencing for March 2, 2016.
Grigoriy (Greg) Zilberman, age 24, of Owings Mills, Maryland, and Peter Aleksandrov Magnis, age 27, of Hydes, Maryland, Igor Yasinov, age 26, of Baltimore, and Marat Yelizarov, age 28, of Pikesville, previously pleaded guilty to their roles in the robbery conspiracy and are awaiting sentencing.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein praised the FBI, Baltimore County Police Department, and Baltimore County State’s Attorney’s Office for their work in the investigation. Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant United States Attorneys Paul E. Budlow and Aaron S. J. Zelinsky, who are prosecuting the case.