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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of Florida

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, February 21, 2019

Three Florida Residents Charged with Armed Robbery

Three Florida residents have been arrested and charged with conspiracy to commit Hobbs Act robbery, Hobbs Act robbery, and brandishing a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence.

Ariana Fajardo Orshan, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, George L. Piro, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Miami Field Office, and Anthony Rosa, Chief, Sunrise Police Department, made the announcement.

Zyheem Ian Smith, of Orlando, Gedeon Joseph, of Clermont, and Watverly Mortimer, of West Park, were charged by indictment with offenses related to the December 24, 2018 armed robbery of the Yard House restaurant at the Sawgrass Mills Mall in Sunrise, Florida (Case No. 19-CR-60055-UNGARO).  The defendants have been arrested and had their initial hearings.  Mortimer was detained after a detention hearing on February 15, 2019, before U.S. Magistrate Judge Patrick M. Hunt in Ft. Lauderdale.  Smith and Joseph are currently being detained, following a hearing before U.S. Magistrate Judge Thomas B. Smith in Orlando.  They are awaiting transport to the Southern District of Florida for a subsequent hearing.

According to court records, including allegations contained in the complaint and indictment, Smith and Joseph entered the Yard House on the morning of December 24, 2018, before the restaurant had opened, through a back door that was opened by Mortimer, a Yard House employee.  Smith and Joseph went upstairs to the manager’s office, pointed a Glock 19X handgun at the manager, and grabbed the manager’s cellphone.  They threatened to shoot the manager if he did not empty the safe.  Smith and Joseph left with approximately $22,000.

An indictment is only an accusation and every defendant is presumed innocent unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law. 

U.S. Attorney Fajardo Orshan commended the investigatory efforts of the FBI and the Sunrise Police Department in this matter.  This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert Juman.

Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.

Updated February 21, 2019