Two Men Plead Guilty in Manhattan Federal Court in Connection with Violent Daytime Robberies of Jewelry and Watch Stores Across Four States
Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced today that SEAN ROBINSON and KENDAL THOMPSON pled guilty in connection with a robbery conspiracy operating across New York, New Jersey, Virginia, and Connecticut in which members committed daytime robberies of high-end jewelry and watch stores, including Cartier in Manhattan, using violence, including firearms, and resulting in serious injury to victims and the theft of more than one million dollars in watches and other goods. THOMPSON pled guilty today before United States District Judge Loretta A. Preska, and ROBINSON pled guilty on May 7, 2015, before Judge Preska. To date, eight members of the crew have been apprehended and pled guilty. Two defendants, JAMAL DEHOYOS and COURTNEY HARDIN, remain wanted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”) and are considered armed and dangerous.
According to the allegations contained in court documents previously filed in federal court, and statements made in Court during the pleas of THOMPSON and ROBINSON:
Between approximately July 1, 2013, and January 30, 2014, a highly organized crew engaged in a series of violent robberies of high-end jewelry and watch stores located in four states. During those robberies, crew members smashed display cases with hammers while customers and employees were in the stores, and stole more than one million dollars in luxury watches.
The crew used violence as necessary to carry out the scheme. For example, in one robbery in August 2013 in Richmond, Virginia, the robbers used a handheld stun gun to subdue a female store employee before fleeing with more than a $100,000 in watches. Additionally, THOMPSON and ROBINSON both participated in a September 23, 2013, armed daytime robbery of a jewelry store in Brooklyn, New York, in which two of the robbers displayed handguns, and one of the robbers shot the store owner when he attempted to prevent members of the crew from fleeing with stolen jewelry. ROBINSON, the leader of the crew, planned the September 23, 2013, robbery, as well as a series of other robberies committed by this crew.
Among the stores robbed by the crew are: Cartier, in Manhattan; Travers Jewelers, in Manhattan; Golden Nugget Jewelry, in Manhattan; New York; the Borgata Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey; Schwarzschild’s Jewelers in Richmond, Virginia; Martin Jewelers in Cranford, New Jersey; Henry Reid and Sons Jewelers in New Canaan, Connecticut, and Litan Jewelers in Brooklyn, New York.
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ROBINSON, 43, and THOMPSON, 31, both of Brooklyn, New York, each pled guilty to one count of Hobbs Act robbery conspiracy, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. The maximum potential sentence in this case is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendants will be determined by a judge.
To date, two members of this conspiracy have been sentenced. On March 18, 2015, Judge Preska sentenced ALLEN WILLIAMS to 108 months in prison. On October 23, 2014, United States District Judge Robert P. Patterson sentenced TERRELL RATLIFF to 33 months in prison.
Mr. Bharara praised the investigative work of the FBI and the New York City Police Department. He also thanked the police departments of Cranford, New Jersey; Atlantic City, New Jersey; Richmond, Virginia; and New Canaan, Connecticut, and the Manhattan and Brooklyn District Attorneys’ Offices, and the Union County, New Jersey, Prosecutor’s Office, for their assistance in the investigation, which he noted is ongoing.
The case is being prosecuted by the Office’s General Crimes Unit. Assistant United States Attorneys Andrea M. Griswold and Richard Cooper are in charge of the prosecution.