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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Columbia

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, May 9, 2014

District Man Found Guilty Of Robbing Restaurant At Gunpoint And Obstructing Justice After His Arrest-Defendant Was A Manager At The Restaurant He Targeted-

     WASHINGTON – Torrey C. Robinson, 26, of Washington, D.C., has been found guilty by a jury of robbery and other charges in the hold-up of a Northwest Washington restaurant where he was employed as a manager, U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr. announced.

     Robinson was found guilty on May 8, 2014, following a trial in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia, of robbery, burglary, obstruction of justice, and unlawful possession of ammunition. The Honorable Robert I. Richter scheduled sentencing for July 9, 2014.

     According to the government’s evidence, on Nov. 26, 2013, Robinson worked the day shift as a manager at Taylor Gourmet, located in the 600 block of E Street NW. He was replaced that afternoon by the victim, a new female manager set to work her first night shift alone that evening. At about 9:05 p.m., just after the restaurant had closed, Robinson returned to the establishment, wearing black Helly Hansen pants with reflective striping, a black North Face jacket with the hood up, a ski mask, and black-and-gray gloves. 

     Upon entering the restaurant, Robinson turned off the lights and approached the victim, who was working behind the counter.  Robinson opened his jacket, displayed a dark-colored gun in his waistband, and told the victim, “This is a robbery, this is not a game.” He commanded her to open the safe.  When the victim did not do so, Robinson consulted a clipboard containing the safe combination – which was hidden in code – and opened the safe himself, taking nearly $2,000 in cash, as well as multiple rolls of quarters wrapped in orange-and-white paper. 

     Senior staff at Taylor Gourmet later reviewed a surveillance video and immediately believed that the robber was Robinson, a manager at that location.  Pursuant to a search warrant, police found the black Helly Hansen pants with reflective striping worn during the robbery in Robinson’s room, along with nearly $950 in various denominations, including 100 in $1 bills, and one roll of quarters wrapped in orange-and-white paper.  Also found in the room was a box of 9 mm ammunition. In a search of Robinson’s car, police found the black-and-gray gloves worn during the robbery, along with four more rolls of quarters wrapped in orange-and-white paper.  Additionally, police searched Robinson’s iPhone and found photos and a video of him holding a thick wad of cash the night after the robbery.  Text messages recovered from Robinson’s cell phone proved that he was in the area of the robbery; he texted a friend that he was arriving at a store just two blocks away, minutes after the crime.

     When he picked his friend up at the store, Robinson was wearing the black pants with reflective striping.  Finally, in the weeks after his arrest, Robinson made multiple telephone calls from the District of Columbia Jail in which he solicited various friends and family members to move his gun, which he called “Baby Girl.”  In one such call, Robinson learned that the gun had been successfully moved.

     In announcing the verdict, U.S. Attorney Machen commended the work of the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD), which investigated the case. He also expressed appreciation for the assistance provided by the FBI’s Cellular Analysis Survey Team and the District of Columbia Department of Forensic Sciences.  He acknowledged the efforts of those who worked on the case from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, including Criminal Investigators John Marsh and Nelson Rhone, Paralegal Specialist Todd McClelland, and Assistant U.S. Attorney James A. Petkun, who investigated, indicted, and tried the case to verdict.

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Updated February 19, 2015