News and Press Releases

MEXICAN NATIONAL SENTENCED TO OVER FIVE YEARS IN PRISON FOR JEWELRY COURIER ROBBERY
One of Three Men Who Stole Over $200,000 in Jewelry from Courier Outside Bellevue McDonald’s

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 23, 2008

SERGIO SANTAMARIA, 38, a Mexican citizen, was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Seattle to 70 months in prison and three years of supervised release for Interference with Commerce by Robbery. SANTAMARIA was one of three men who robbed a jewelry courier outside a Bellevue McDonald’s restaurant on September 27, 2007. The men were apprehended, following a police chase, just off of Interstate-90 near Snoqualmie. In imposing the sentence U.S. District Judge James L. Robart noted that SANTAMARIA’s offense “was a matter of grave concern.”

According to documents filed in the case, on the morning of September 27, 2007, SANTAMARIA and two other men followed a jewelry courier from his Seattle hotel to a McDonald’s restaurant in the Factoria neighborhood, where the courier stopped for breakfast. The van SANTAMARIA was driving blocked the courier’s rental car, and one of the men pointed what appeared to be a gun at the courier and demanded his keys and wallet. The courier turned over his keys, just as one of the men broke the back window of the car and stole a backpack containing approximately $221,000 in jewelry. The men fled in the van, but were tracked by Bellevue and Issaquah Police. They were stopped and arrested just off of eastbound I-90.

In sentencing documents, prosecutors note that SANTAMARIA was involved in the planning of the robbery, based on the fact that SANTAMARIA had been observed previously by law enforcement related to the robberies of jewelry salesmen. In his sentencing memo Assistant United States Attorney Nicholas Brown wrote to the court, “In August of 2007, law enforcement agents were conducting surveillance on the defendant and other unknown associates in the Seattle area. These individuals traveled to the area from California and were believed to be planning future robberies of jewelry salesman like the current case.” SANTAMARIA has previous convictions for Burglary of a Vehicle and Receiving Stolen Property (2005). In that case, SANTAMARIA and others were following elderly victims from banks and stealing valuables from their cars.

The case was investigated by the FBI and the Bellevue Police Department, with assistance on the arrest from the Issaquah Police Department and Washington State Patrol.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Nicholas Brown and Bruce Miyake.

For additional information please contact Emily Langlie, Public Affairs Officer for the United States Attorney’s Office, at (206) 553-4110.

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