CANAL WINCHESTER MAN PLEADS GUILTY TO ARMED ROBBERY OF REYNOLDSBURG JEWELRY STORE
TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 10, 2013
Public Affairs Officer
COLUMBUS, OHIO – Darnell J. Harris, 26, of Canal Winchester, Ohio, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to committing a takeover style armed robbery of a Reynoldsburg jewelry store in May, 2012 with his sister as an accomplice.
Carter M. Stewart, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, Christopher J. Hyman, Acting Special Agent in Charge, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), and Reynoldsburg Police Chief Jim O’Neill announced the plea entered September 9 before Senior U.S. District Judge Peter C. Economus.
Harris pleaded guilty to one count of obstructing interstate commerce (Hobbs Act), a crime punishable by up to 20 years in prison, and one count of brandishing a firearm during a crime of violence, a crime punishable by a mandatory seven-year term of imprisonment that Harris must serve consecutive to any prison time he receives for the robbery.
According to court documents, Harris’ sister, Mariah, entered Heins Jewelers posing as a customer shopping for engagement rings. Once she had the attention of both employees, Darnell entered the store carrying a handgun and ordered both employees into a back room. Harris tied up the employees. One loosened his restraints and tried to escape. Darnell viciously beat the employee with the gun, causing severe face and head trauma. The siblings fled the store with cash and jewelry.
Reynoldsburg and Pickerington police officers arrested Darnell Harris in March 2013 following a traffic stop in Pickerington. Mariah Harris surrendered to the Reynoldsburg Police and was arrested there. Darnell Harris has been in custody since his arrest. Judge Economus will set a date for sentencing.
Mariah Harris pleaded guilty on September 3, 2013 to one count of violating the Hobbs Act.
U.S. Attorney Stewart commended the investigation conducted by the ATF and Reynoldsburg Police. Assistant U.S. Attorneys David J. Bosley and Doug Squires are representing the United States in the case.
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