Four Individuals Charged In Manhattan Federal Court With Participating In A Multi-State Robbery Crew That Stole More Than $1 Million In Luxury Watches And Other Goods
Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, George Venizelos, the Assistant Director-in-Charge of the New York Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”), and William Bratton, the Police Commissioner of the City of New York (“NYPD”), announced the unsealing of a five-count Complaint yesterday charging four members of a robbery crew operating across New York, New Jersey, and Virginia with robbery conspiracy and robberies of high-end jewelry and watch stores, resulting in the theft of more than a million dollars in watches. Specifically, ALLEN WILLIAMS, 35, ROBERTO GRANT, 33, TERRELL RATLIFF, 22, and TYRONE DEHOYOS, 35, have each been charged with robbery conspiracy and one or more substantive robberies. DEHOYOS was arrested yesterday in Brooklyn, New York, and was presented before U.S. Magistrate Judge Andrew J. Peck. DEHOYOS was ordered detained pending trial. WILLIAMS, GRANT, and RATLIFF were all previously arrested by the NYPD and are expected to be transferred into federal custody to be presented on the charges contained in the Complaint.
Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said: “As alleged, the defendants engaged in violent robberies of luxury jewelry stores in New York, New Jersey, and Virginia. They allegedly combined forethought with force, scouting out their targets and then terrorizing customers and employees by smashing display cases with hammers and stealing high-end timepieces. They will now face the consequences of their violent shopping spree.”
FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge George Venizelos said: “From Cartier on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue to the Borgata Casino in Atlantic City, the defendants left no rock unturned, carrying out a series of brazen midday smash-and-grab robberies of high-end jewelers up and down the East Coast. It took sophisticated, modern crime fighting techniques to tie the heists together. Today, we see the result of diligent work by law enforcement from Virginia to New York to stop this violent, skilled crime syndicate.”
Police Commissioner William J. Bratton said: “Thanks to the collaborative efforts of investigators and prosecutors assigned to this case, four members of this smash and grab crew, which targeted businesses throughout New York City and in other states, have been shut down. Two of these criminals, Allen Williams and Roberto Grant, were quickly apprehended by members of the NYPD after they brazenly walked into a Manhattan Cartier store and stole more than $700,000 worth of watches.”
According to the allegations contained in the Complaint and statements made in court today:
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 three states, while customers and employees were in the stores, and stole more than a million dollars in luxury watches.
The robberies followed a simple but brazen pattern: On each occasion, three to five members of the crew entered a jewelry or watch store, began smashing glass display cases with hammers, grabbed luxury watches from those display cases, and then fled within minutes of entering the store into waiting getaway cars driven by members of the robbery crew. Each robbery occurred during business hours while store employees and customers were present. The crew used violence as necessary to carry out the scheme. For example, during 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 $100,000 in watches.
Among the stores robbed by the crew are: Cartier in Manhattan, New York; the Borgata Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey; Schwarzschild’s Jewelers in Richmond, Virginia; and Martin Jewelers in Cranford, New Jersey.
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All four of the defendants are charged in Count One of the Complaint, conspiracy to commit robbery in interstate commerce, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. WILLIAMS and GRANT are also charged with each of the robberies in interstate commerce in Counts Two through Five in the Complaint; RATLIFF is charged with the robbery in interstate commerce in Count Two of the Complaint; and DEHOYOS is charged with the robbery in interstate commerce in Count Four of the Complaint. Each of the substantive interstate robbery counts carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.
Mr. Bharara praised the investigative work of the FBI and the NYPD. Mr. Bharara also thanked the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, which brought charges against WILLIAMS and GRANT in connection with their participation in the January 30, 2014, robbery of Cartier. He also thanked the Richmond FBI Office and the Atlantic City Resident Agency of the Newark FBI Office, as well as the police departments of Cranford, New Jersey, Atlantic City, New Jersey, and Richmond, Virginia.
The case is being prosecuted by the Office’s General Crimes Unit. Assistant United States Attorneys Andrea Griswold and Richard Cooper are in charge of the prosecution.
The charges contained in the Complaint are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.