Leader of Violent Armed Robbery Spree in Hampton Roads Sentenced
For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Virginia
NORFOLK, Va. – A Bloods gang member was sentenced today to 507 months in prison for conspiracy to interfere with commerce by means of robbery, seven counts of interference and attempted interference with commerce by means of robbery, three counts of brandishing a firearm during a crime of violence, and one count of discharging a firearm during a crime of violence.
According to court documents, Harold Spencer, 33, of Virginia Beach, was the leader of a five-man armed robbery crew with Kareem Ross, 34, of Hampton, Roshaun Griffin, 36, of Virginia Beach, Jon Morgan, 32, of Portsmouth, and Marvin Lockhart, Jr. 32, of Virginia Beach.
On March 18, 2022, Spencer led Virginia Beach Police on a high-speed pursuit following an attempted robbery of a Tiger Mart gas station. A pursuing Virginia Beach police cruiser’s dash camera captured the men throwing several loaded weapons from their car. Only after spike strips were deployed multiple times did the car finally come to a stop. Spencer and the other men were apprehended, and police recovered ski masks and gloves from inside their vehicle. The clothing and shoes each of them was wearing matched what could be seen in video surveillance from six prior armed robberies.
During the second of six-armed robberies, Spencer shot multiple times at a fleeing customer, nearly killing the customer. Spencer took a “selfie” on his cell phone wearing a ski mask worn in all six robberies—a ski mask, which was recovered after the high-speed pursuit and later was shown to contain his DNA. His cell phone also contained photographs of Ross holding a handgun with a drum magazine, multiple Glock firearms consistent with those thrown from the fleeing vehicle, large sums of cash, and lottery tickets.
The armed robbery crew stole cash, cigarettes, and lottery tickets. Investigators from the Virginia Lottery received alerts from convenience stores where attempts were made by Spencer and Ross, to cash the stolen tickets. Investigators pulled the surveillance video from those attempts and identified both men. Additionally, through a shoe impression expert from the Virginia Department of Forensic Science, investigators were able to connect the shoes Spencer was arrested in with a lift of an impression made at the Arrowhead Food Mart he had robbed on March 5, 2022. Those shoes could be seen at all six armed robberies Spencer had committed.
Several months before this armed robbery spree, Morgan had recently completed a ten-year prison sentence for a previous armed robbery. Spencer was also previously convicted of an armed robbery. In 2012, Spencer robbed the Golden China restaurant in Norfolk where he struck a victim in the head. He was sentenced in Norfolk Circuit Court to 10 years incarceration with 8 of the years suspended.
Ross was sentenced to 27 years in prison for his role in the conspiracy. Griffin was sentenced to 15 years in prison for his role in the conspiracy. Morgan will be sentenced on November 17. Lockhart will be sentenced on February 2, 2024.
Jessica D. Aber, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; Brian Dugan, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Norfolk Field Office; and Paul W. Neudigate, Chief of Police, Virginia Beach Police Department, made the announcement after sentencing by U.S. District Judge Arenda Wright Allen.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Joe Depadilla and John F. Butler and prosecuted the case.
The Justice Department announced today several new commitments as part of its Comprehensive Strategy for Reducing Violent Crime. Instituted by Attorney General Merrick B. Garland in May 2021, the strategy focuses on harnessing federal resources, intelligence, and expertise as a force-multiplier with state, local, and Tribal law enforcement. Deputy Attorney General Lisa O. Monaco and Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta highlighted the more than $334 million in critical grant funding to law enforcement agencies and stakeholders awarded today by the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS Office).The COPS grants announced today include funding to help law enforcement agencies hire over 1,730 new law enforcement officers across the country while also providing critical funding to support school safety and continue to advance community policing nationwide.
A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Related court documents and information are located on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 2:22-cr-106.
Updated November 2, 2023