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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Middle District of Pennsylvania

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Philadelphia Man Pleads Guilty To Armed Robbery Of Kranich’s Jewelry Store In State College

     The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced that Rodger Kent Williams, age 41, pleaded guilty Tuesday before U.S. District Court Judge Matthew W. Brann in Williamsport to interference with commerce by violence, and use and possession of a firearm during a crime of violence in connection with the armed robbery of Kranich’s Jewelry store. Williams also pleaded guilty to one count of interference with commerce by robbery in connection with the armed robbery of another jewelry store in Cary, North Carolina which was transferred from the Eastern District of North Carolina at Raleigh.

     According to United States Attorney Peter J. Smith, Williams was indicted in Williamsport on June 13, 2013, following the armed robbery of Kranich’s Jewelry store on January 9, 2013, and the North Carolina jewelry store on January 28, 2013.

     Williams and other individuals traveled from Philadelphia to State College where they entered Kranich’s Jewelry store and ordered the store employees to provide display case keys and get on the floor at the rear of the store.  Williams displayed a .357 revolver to the employees during the robbery.  Williams and the conspirators then took jewelry, rings, a watch, and other valuable merchandise from the store display cases and safes and directly off the person of one of the store employees.

     Williams was also indicted on federal charges in Raleigh, North Carolina arising from the robbery of another jewelry store on January 28, 2013, in Cary, North Carolina. In that case, Williams and other individuals again traveled from Philadelphia to J.M. Edwards Fine Jewelry, where Williams displayed the .357 revolver, and then he  and the other conspirators robbed the store of jewelry and other items.  Police officers apprehended Williams as he exited the store in Cary and recovered the firearms and stolen merchandise.  That charge was transferred to the Middle District of Pennsylvania.           

     The case was investigated by the State College Police Department; the Cary, North Carolina Police Department; and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Philadelphia and Charlotte Divisions.  Prosecution of this matter has been assigned to Assistant United States Attorney George J. Rocktashel.  Mr. Smith expressed his thanks for the assistance and support of the United States Attorney’s Office in the Eastern District of North Carolina in coordinating the transfer of charges to Pennsylvania for the guilty plea and sentencing. 

     Judge Brann ordered a presentence investigation and set the case for a presentence conference on March 20, 2014, when sentencing will be scheduled. 

     A sentence following a finding of guilty is imposed by the Judge after consideration of the applicable federal sentencing statutes and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines.

     In this case, the maximum penalty under the federal statute is life imprisonment and a fine. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the Judge is also required to consider and weigh a number of factors, including the nature, circumstances and seriousness of the offense; the history and characteristics of the defendant; and the need to punish the defendant, protect the public and provide for the defendant’s educational, vocational and medical needs. For these reasons, the statutory maximum penalty for the offense is not an accurate indicator of the potential sentence for a specific defendant.

Updated April 9, 2015