Robber of Jewelry and Gemstones Extradited From Colombia to the United States Pleads Guilty to Conspiracy
A Colombian national arrested in Colombia and extradited to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania pleaded guilty today to conspiracy to commit Hobbs Act robbery for his role in the robbery of an employee of a New York business that sold jewelry and gemstones.
Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Scott W. Brady for the Western District of Pennsylvania, Special Agent in Charge Robert Allan Jones of the FBI’s Pittsburgh Field Division and Chief T. Robert Amann for the Northern Regional Police Department in Wexford, Pennsylvania made the announcement.
Oscar Javier Rodriguez Roa, 35, of Bogota, Columbia, pleaded guilty before U.S. Senior District Judge Donetta W. Ambrose the Western District of Pennsylvania to conspiracy to commit Hobbs Act Robbery in connection with the robbery of an employee of a New York business that sold jewelry and gemstones. Rodriguez Roa will be sentenced on Aug. 12, 2019.
Rodriguez Roa admitted that, on or about May 8, 2013, he is a national and citizen of Colombia who previously resided in Atlanta, Georgia and Harris County, Texas. He was a member of a South American theft ring that targeted traveling jewelry salespersons in the United States and elsewhere.
On or about May 5, 2013, Rodriguez Roa and several accomplices drove from Lawrenceville, Georgia to Western Pennsylvania in a rented, grey-colored Nissan Maxima.
On May 8, 2013, in Wexford, Pennsylvania, Rodriguez Roa and three accomplices approached a traveling jewelry salesman from New York City as the salesman exited his car in the parking lot of a Wexford jewelry store. Rodriguez Roa smashed the rear driver’s side window of the salesman’s car with a garden tool, reached inside the car, and stole a black shoulder bag containing approximately $500,000 worth of gemstones and jewelry. One accomplice punctured the rear driver’s side tire of the salesman’s car, a second accomplice kept an eye on the salesman, and the third accomplice drove the Nissan Maxima getaway car. Prior to the robbery, the accomplices obscured the Maxima’s license plate using a vanity plate.
Witnesses to the robbery followed the Nissan Maxima to a church parking lot. After realizing they had been followed, Rodriguez Roa and his accomplices drove to a nearby muffler shop where they abandoned the Nissan Maxima and fled on foot to a nearby CVS pharmacy.
CVS pharmacy video surveillance, obtained by law enforcement, showed Oscar Javier Rodriguez Roa and one accomplice entering the store while the two remaining accomplices waited outside. Rodriguez Roa was seen talking on a cell phone as he entered the store, while Rodriguez Roa’s accomplice was seen carrying the black shoulder bag containing the gemstones and jewelry.
Forensic analysis revealed Rodriguez Roa’s fingerprints on the front passenger door of the Nissan Maxima and on a video game console found in the trunk of the car.
Records from U.S. Customs and Border Protection showed that Rodriguez Roa, who is not a citizen of the United States, fled the United States on May 16, 2013, by boarding a flight in Houston, Texas destined for Bogota, Columbia.
The investigation of this case was led by the FBI’s Pittsburgh Field Division, with the assistance of the Northern Regional Police Department.
Trial Attorney Leshia Lee-Dixon of the Criminal Division’s Organized Crime and Gang Section in the Justice Department and Assistant U.S. Attorney Charles A. Eberle of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Pennsylvania prosecuted the case. The Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs provided significant support with the defendant’s extradition.