Armed and Violent Jewelry Store Robbers Get Lengthy Federal Prison Sentences
DALLAS—A Mesquite, Texas, man, who, along with his co-conspirator admitted committing the armed robberies of several jewelry stores in the Dallas—Fort Worth (DFW) area, was sentenced this morning to a lengthy federal prison sentence, announced John Parker, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas.
Mark D. Whitfield, 36, was sentenced to serve a total of 309 months in federal prison by U.S. District Judge Sidney A. Fitzwater. Whitfield pleaded guilty in September 2014 to one count of conspiracy to interfere with commerce by robbery and one count of using, carrying, and brandishing a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence.
Last month, his co-conspirator, Michael Demon Jackson, 37, of Dallas, was sentenced by Judge Fitzwater to serve a total of 594 months in federal prison. Jackson pleaded guilty in November 2014 to the conspiracy count and two counts of using, carrying, and brandishing a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence.
According to documents filed in the case, from approximately October 18, 2013, to May 22, 2014, Whitfield and Jackson conspired to rob, and did rob, the below-listed jewelry stores located in shopping malls in the DFW area, of more than $400,000 of jewelry:
- October 18, 2013 and February 4, 2014—Marquise Jewelers in Valley View Mall, 13331 Preston Road, Dallas
- February 24, 2014—Classic Jewelers in Vista Ridge Mall, 2401 South Interstate 35-E, Lewisville, Texas
- April 29, 2014—Gianni’s Jewelers in Vista Ridge Mall, 2401 South Interstate 35-E, Lewisville, Texas
- May 20, 2014—Benson’s Jewelers in The Parks at Arlington Mall, 3811 South Cooper Street, Arlington, Texas
During each of the two Marquise Jewelers robberies, Whitfield distracted a store employee by pretending to be interested in buying jewelry and asking the store employee to show him merchandise in the display cases. Once the employee was distracted and the display case opened, Jackson went around the counter and, in one robbery, held a firearm to the employee’s head and threatened to kill her, and in the other robbery, pushed the employee to the floor, held a firearm to her head and, again, threatened to kill her.
During each of the other robberies, the defendants committed and threatened physical violence with a firearm.
The FBI investigated the case. Deputy Criminal Chief Assistant U.S. Attorney Lisa Miller prosecuted.