FEDERAL JURY CONVICTS 4 IN ST. THOMAS JEWELRY STORE ROBBERY
St. Thomas, USVI – After a three-day trial in District Court in St. Thomas, a federal jury on Wednesday found four men guilty of the armed robbery of Imperial Jewelry Store in St. Thomas, United States Attorney Ronald W. Sharpe announced.
Shaquim Fredericks, 19, Warkim Gabriel, 18, Alvin Thomas, 19, and Chefton Newton, 26, all of St. Thomas, were convicted of Interference with Commerce by Robbery, Conspiracy to Interfere with Commerce by Robbery and Conspiracy to Use a Firearm in Furtherance of a Crime of Violence.
According to the evidence presented at trial, at approximately 9:30 a.m. on March 15, 2014, seven masked individuals, entered Imperial Jewelry Store located on Main Street, St Thomas, and robbed the store of approximately $1 million worth of jewelry. Some of the robbers brandished firearms, while the others used tools to break display cases and grab the jewelry. During the robbery, store employees had firearms pointed at their heads by the robbers.
After approximately 90 seconds inside the store, all seven individuals fled. Shortly thereafter, Virgin Islands Police Department officers found six suspects, including the four defendants, hiding in the thick brush in the area of Fireburn Hill. VIPD officers also discovered a significant amount of jewelry, three firearms, and clothing in the brush near where the defendants were hiding. Two of the individuals arrested are juveniles. Their cases are being handled by the Virgin Islands Department of Justice.
The defendants face a statutory maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. Sentencing for all four defendants is scheduled for December 4, 2014.
U.S. Attorney Sharpe commended the collaborative work of the Virgin Islands Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives, which investigated the case. “Today’s verdict demonstrates that when federal and local forces join together, we can work quickly to ensure that violent offenders are brought to justice.” Sharpe said. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Kelly B. Lake.