WASHINGTON – A District man pleaded guilty today to a string of armed robberies occurring in early 2022, announced U.S. Attorney Matthew Graves and Special Agent in Charge Craig Kailimai of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).
Michael Daniels, 36, of Washington D.C., pleaded to interference with interstate commerce by robbery (also known as a Hobbs Act robbery).
Beginning in late January 2022, an armed robber held up a half-dozen small commercial establishments in the District of Columbia. At a dry cleaner on Capitol Hill on Jan. 28, 2022, a man wearing a distinctive sweatshirt with an image of the Pink Panther and Inspector Clouseau approached the cash register with a dollar bill and asked for change. The cashier opened the register. The man pulled out a weapon, demanded “all the money,” and then ordered the cashier to lie down on the floor and count down from 100.
Five similar robberies followed. On Jan. 30, 2022, a man entered a liquor store shortly before 2:30 p.m. on the 1900 block of 9th St., NW. He asked for a bottle of cognac and a pack of rolling papers. Then he pulled out a black handgun. On Jan. 31, 2022, at a mobile phone store on the 1700 block of Columbia Rd., NW, a man wearing a mask asked an employee for change for a dollar. Flashing a black handgun, he demanded money from the register. He fled after ordering the employee to lie down on the floor and count down from 100. On the way out he dropped a mask. The ATF determined that the DNA recovered from the mask originated from Michael Daniels.
On Feb. 7, 2022, a man wearing a mask walked into a mobile phone store on the 3100 block of Mt. Pleasant St. NW. He lingered for a few minutes, asked about various items for sale, and inquired about a job. He next handed a dollar bill the cashier and asked for change. When the cashier opened the register, the man flashed a handgun and began counting down from five. The cashier handed over cash. The man fled. The cashier noted that the robber had tattoos of numbers near his eyes that were visible despite the suspect’s mask. Michael Daniels has tattoos of numbers near his eyes.
On Feb. 10, 2022, a man walked into a vape shop on the 600 block of Pennsylvania Ave., SE. He asked for a pack of rolling papers, flashed a handgun, and demanded money from the cashier. On Feb. 13, a man wearing a black mask entered a mobile phone store on the 3700 block of Georgia Ave, NW. He requested change for a $10 bill, asked about a job, then brandished a gun and demanded money. He fled with cash and a cell phone.
Daniels was arrested on Apr. 12, 2023, in Washington, D.C.
U.S. District Court Judge Rudolph Contreras scheduled sentencing for Apr. 5, 2024. Daniels faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
This case was investigated by the ATF.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Nihar Ranjan Mohanty and Madhu Chugh of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia. Candace Battle and Kim Hall provided valuable assistance.