Two South Ozone Park Cousins Convicted of Multiple Robbery, Conspiracy and Firearms Charges
Following a two-week trial, a federal jury in Central Islip, New York, today returned a verdict convicting Sharod Williams and his cousin, Travis Walker, the leaders of a violent robbery crew, of robbing a post office and six banks located throughout Queens and Long Island. Williams was also found guilty of the armed robbery of a jewelry store in Far Rockaway. The defendants were convicted on all counts of a 15-count indictment. The case was tried before United States District Judge Arthur D. Spatt.
The verdict was announced by Loretta E. Lynch, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, Ronald Verrochio, Inspector in Charge, New York Field Office, United States Postal Inspection Service, and Joseph Anarumo, Jr., Special Agent-in-Charge, New York Field Division, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
At trial, the government’s evidence established that:
On October 30, 2009, Williams and Walker sent crew members, one armed with a firearm, to ambush a postal employee who was opening the Postal Service branch office in Wyandanch, and forced the employee to open a safe in the post office. Williams directed the operation from a distance by cellular phone. A second employee was also held at gunpoint after Williams alerted the robbers inside the post office of the second employee’s arrival. Williams, Walker and the two crew members fled with approximately $7,000, with Walker driving the getaway car.
On November 28, 2009, Williams and other crew members carried out a daytime armed robbery of Gold Fashion Jewelry Store, in Far Rockaway. During the robbery, Williams and another member of his crew physically assaulted and handcuffed the elderly store owner. When the store owner attempted to escape, Williams threw him to the ground, and, while kneeling on the victim’s neck, directed a crew member to take jewelry, valued at more than $100,000.
Between November 2009 and March 2010, Williams and Walker conspired to rob six banks in Nassau and Queens counties, recruiting two others to actually commit robberies. During five of the six bank robberies, the two co-conspirators, armed with a firearm, displayed what they claimed to be a bomb and threatened to detonate it if they did not receive money. During the robberies, the crew netted approximately $50,000.
“These two cousins ran a family business based on brazen theft and violence. With this verdict, the family that once preyed together will now face justice together. All available resources will be utilized to apprehend and prosecute violent criminals who use firearms and threats of violence as a means to enrich themselves,” stated United States Attorney Lynch. Ms. Lynch extended her grateful appreciation to the New York City Police Department and the Nassau County Police Department for their assistance in the investigation.
Postal Inspector-in-Charge Verocchio stated, “There is nothing more important to us then the safety of our Postal employees. The Postal Inspectors, along with our law enforcement partners, will use all available resources to investigate and to bring to justice anyone who threatens or harm our employees.”
ATF Special Agent-in-Charge Anarumo stated, “Violent gangs are a plague on our neighborhoods, and this gang needed to be eliminated quickly. The gang members utilized firearms and a fake explosive device to carry out their robberies, intimidating those they came in contact with. Today’s verdict is a direct result of law enforcement’s commitment to work together. From the investigative phase right through prosecution, our very best came through to ensure that these defendants will no longer terrorize our communities.”
At sentencing, Sharod Williams faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 107 years in prison. Travis Walker faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 82 years in prison.
The government’s case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Lara Treinis Gatz and Thomas Sullivan.
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