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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of New Jersey

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Two More Men Admit Roles In Armed Robbery Of New Jersey Target Store On Black Friday 2012

TRENTON, N.J. –Two Newark men admitted this week to robbing a Target Store in Union, New Jersey, on “Black Friday” in November 2012, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced today.

Lavell Jones, 29, pleaded guilty today before U.S. District Judge Anne E. Thompson in Trenton federal court to an indictment charging him with one count of Hobbs Act robbery. DaQuaan Vaughn, 36, pleaded guilty before Judge Thompson on Sept. 16, 2014, to a superseding information charging him with one count of Hobbs Act robbery and one count of using a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence. Vaughn also pleaded guilty to an unrelated count of firearms trafficking in connection with his unlawful sale of firearms between April and June 2012. 

Vaughn, Jones, and two other men – Darrell A. Carter, 24, of Irvington and Maryland Liggins, 29, of Newark – were arrested on June 19, 2013, and charged by criminal complaint in connection with the Target robbery. Carter and Liggins each pleaded guilty before Judge Thompson in May 2014 to informations charging them with Hobbs Act robbery. Carter also pleaded guilty to one count of using a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence. Sentencing dates for both Carter and Liggins are pending.    

According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:

On Nov. 23, 2012, Vaughn, Carter, Jones and Liggins robbed a Target store located on Springfield Avenue in Union on Black Friday – the day after Thanksgiving – which is considered to be one of the busiest shopping days of the year. Jones posed as a shopper and served as a lookout inside the store. He alerted the others when the store was closing and money was being transferred from the store’s registers to the cash room. Liggins served as the getaway driver.

Before closing, Carter and Vaughn waited in the bathroom. When an employee entered the bathroom, Carter and Vaughn restrained the employee and threatened him with a firearm. After the store closed, Carter and Vaughn entered the cash room, restrained other Target employees with zip ties and robbed them at gunpoint, stealing more than $50,000 from a cash cart and safe. Then they fled the store and ran out to a vehicle – driven by Liggins – that was parked on the shoulder of nearby Route 78. 

The charge of Hobbs Act robbery carries a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison. The charge of using a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence carries a maximum potential penalty of life in prison and a mandatory minimum sentence of seven years, which must run consecutively to any other prison term. The firearms trafficking charge against Vaughn carries a maximum potential penalty of five years in prison. Each of these counts also carries a maximum fine of $250,000. Sentencing for Vaughn is scheduled for Jan. 6, 2015, and sentencing for Jones is scheduled for Jan. 7, 2015.

U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Aaron T. Ford, with the investigation leading to the guilty pleas. He also thanked the Union Police Department for its role in the investigation and Target corporate security for its cooperation.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Nicholas P. Grippo of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Criminal Division in Trenton.


Defense Counsel:     

Carter: Peter Carter Esq., Newark                                                                 
Liggins: Joseph Rotella Esq., Newark           
Vaughn: Timothy Donohue Esq., West Orange, New Jersey
Jones: Richie Roberts Esq., Newark

Jones, Lavell Indictment
Vaughn, DaQuaan Information

Updated August 20, 2015