Trio Charged with Robbing Verizon Wireless Stores of Expensive Cellular Phones
PHILADELPHIA—An indictment, filed today, charges three Philadelphia men with robbing Verizon wireless stores of expensive cellular telephones for the purpose of reselling them and splitting the nearly $80,000 in proceeds, announced United States Attorney Zane David Memeger. Darryl Alston, 39, Rynell Bennett, 34, and Chamir Isaiah Lewis, 21, all of Philadelphia, are charged with committing Hobbs Act robbery. Alston is charged in all five robberies: on October 11, 2014, at 421 West Germantown Pike, Plymouth Meeting, Pennsylvania; on January 20, 2015, at 625 West Chester Pike, Haverford Township, Pennsylvania; on January 21, 2015, at 301 Spring Garden Street, Philadelphia; and on January 27, 2015, at 1692 Clements Bridge Road, Deptford Township, New Jersey; and on April 13, 2015, at 322 South Street, Philadelphia. Bennett is charged with one robbery and Lewis is charged with two robberies.
According to the indictment, the three defendants robbed the stores by researching the businesses over the Internet; entered the businesses wearing dark clothing, gloves, scarf, ski mask, baseball hats, and a hooded sweatshirt to conceal their identities; used a firearm and a BB handgun to terrorize the owners and employees of the businesses, tied the victims’ hands with duct tape and rope, in order to prevent them from interfering with the robbery and to enforce compliance with their demands; and stole approximately $78,906 in cellular phones. Alston and Bennett are also both charged with using and carrying a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence and felon in possession of a firearm.
If convicted of all charges, Alston and Bennett each faces a minimum mandatory sentence of seven years in prison, in addition to an advisory sentencing guideline range of 188 to 235 months for Alston, and 360 months to life imprisonment for Bennett. Lewis faces a sentencing guideline range of 151 to 188 months’ imprisonment.
The case was investigated by the FBI with assistance from the Philadelphia Police Department, the Plymouth Meeting Police Department, the Haverford Township Police Department, and the Deptford Township, New Jersey Police Department. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Jose Arteaga.
An Indictment is an accusation. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.