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Press Release

Brazilian National Pleads Guilty to Armed Robbery

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Massachusetts

BOSTON – A Brazilian man, previously residing in Chelsea, pleaded guilty today in connection with the April 21, 2020 armed robbery of Lanzilli’s Grocery in Boston.

Diego Evangelista DaSilva, 33, pleaded guilty to one count of armed robbery. U.S. Senior District Court Judge Rya W. Zobel scheduled sentencing for Nov. 23, 2021. DaSilva was charged in May 2020 and has been detained since.

Between Jan. 4, 2020 and April 20, 2020, a series of armed robberies occurred at commercial establishments in the Boston area, including pharmacies, gas stations, convenience stores and grocery stores. The suspect in each of the robberies appeared to be the same individual based on consistent characteristics recorded on video surveillance and described by witnesses. In many of the robberies, the robber entered the establishment, passed a demand note, made verbal demands for money and displayed what appeared to be a firearm tucked into the waistline of his pants.

On April 21, 2020, at 8:20 p.m., an armed robbery occurred at Lanzilli’s Grocery in Boston. During the robbery, the robber was observed wearing a gray knit cap, a flesh-colored mask and a gray hooded sweatshirt. Video and photo surveillance showed a red garment/jacket under the robber’s gray sweatshirt, the robber exiting the area, going in between two buildings and later emerging wearing a red jacket. The robber then left the area in a cab. The cab company’s records revealed that the robber was dropped off near Washington Park in East Boston.

On April 26, 2020, law enforcement officers surveilled the area of Washington Park and observed an individual, who fit the physical description of the robber, wearing similar clothing worn by the robber during the April 21, 2020, robbery. Law enforcement observed the individual drive away in a car, conducted a motor vehicle stop, determined that the driver – DaSilva – did not possess a driver’s license and detained him. A black semi-automatic BB gun and a gray knit cap were recovered from the car.

DaSilva’s home was searched and personal papers in his name, a red jacket, and various items of clothing and hats were recovered. DaSilva was later interviewed and admitted his involvement in the string of robberies.

The charge of armed robbery provides for a sentence of up to 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000. DaSilva will also be subject to deportation. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.  

Acting United States Attorney Nathaniel R. Mendell; James Ferguson, Special Agent in Charge of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Boston Field Division;  Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins; Boston Police Acting Commissioner Gregory Long; Everett Police Chief Steven A. Mazzie; Chelsea Police Chief Brian Kyes; and Colonel Christopher Mason, Superintendent of the Massachusetts State Police made the announcement today. Assistant U.S. Attorney Kenneth G. Shine of Mendell’s Major Crimes Unit is prosecuting the case.

Updated August 12, 2021

Violent Crime