News and Press Releases

Three Plead Guilty to String of Sawed-Off Shotgun Robberies in the City of Richmond

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 14, 2014

RICHMOND, Va. – Alexander Edward Bell, 28, of Richmond, Va., pleaded guilty today to Interference with Commerce by Robbery and Using, Carrying, and Brandishing a Short-Barreled Shotgun During and In Relation to a Felony Crime of Violence.  Bell’s coconspirators, Cevin Maurice Johnson, 26, of Richmond, Va., and Jaron Alphonz Minnicks, 21, of Richmond, Va., pleaded guilty to the same charges last week. 

Dana J. Boente, Acting United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; Charles E. Smith, Special Agent in Charge of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Washington Field Division; and Richmond Police Chief Ray J. Tarasovic made the announcement after the pleas were accepted by United States District Judge Henry E. Hudson.

Bell, Johnson and Minnicks were indicted on January 21, 2014, by a federal grand jury on charges of Interference with Commerce by Robbery and Using, Carrying and Brandishing a Firearm During and In Relation to a Felony Crime of Violence.  All three men face a maximum penalty of 20 years’ imprisonment on the robbery charge and life imprisonment on the firearm charge when they are sentenced in July 2014.  Bell and Minnicks agreed to recommend to the Court a sentence of 27 years of active incarceration.  Johnson, who served primarily as a getaway driver, made no agreement regarding sentencing. 

In a statement of facts filed with the plea agreement, Bell admitted that between October 20, 2013 and December 22, 2013, he committed the armed robberies of the Shop and Go on Mechanicsville Turnpike, Bruce’s Supermarket on Commerce Road, the Night & Day Mart located on Q Street, the One Stop Food Market located on Meadowbridge Avenue, the Clay Street Market located on N. 30th Street, the D.C. Food Market on Brookland Park Boulevard, and the Corner Express Mart on North Avenue, all located in the City of Richmond.  Minnicks admitted to committing all but the Corner Express Mart robbery.  Johnson admitted to committing all but the Shop and Go and Bruce’s Supermarket robberies.  During each of these robberies, one or more of the men would enter the store brandishing a sawed-off shotgun and demand money, while another man would wait outside and serve as a getaway driver.  Approximately $13,000 total was taken during the seven robberies.  

This case was investigated by the ATF and the City of Richmond Police Department.  Assistant United States Attorney Olivia L. Norman is prosecuting the case on behalf of the United States.

A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia at http://www.justice.gov/usao/vae. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia at http://www.vaed.uscourts.gov or on https://pcl.uscourts.gov.

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