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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Three Florida Residents Sentenced to Years in Prison for Armed Robbery of Sawgrass Mills Restaurant

Three Florida residents were sentenced today to between eight and ten years in federal prison for their participation in a conspiracy to commit an armed robbery of a Sawgrass Mills restaurant.

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 W. Rosa, Chief, Sunrise Police Department, made the announcement.

Zyheem Ian Smith, of Orlando, Gedeon Joseph, of Clermont, and Watverly Mortimer, of West Park, previously pled guilty for their involvement in 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).  Smith, Joseph and Mortimer pleaded guilty to Counts 1 and 3 of the indictment, which charged the Defendants with Conspiracy to commit Hobbs Act Robbery, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1951(a) and Brandishing a Firearm in Furtherance of a Crime of Violence, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 924(c)(1)(A)(ii).

Today, U.S. District Judge Ursula M. Ungaro sentenced Smith to 121 months in prison, and Joseph and Mortimer each to 96 months in prison. 

According to court records, including the agreed upon factual proffers, 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.  The manager, who was in fear for his life, placed cash into a bag.  Smith and Joseph left the restaurant with approximately $22,000.

U.S. Attorney Fajardo Orshan commended the investigatory efforts of the FBI and the Sunrise Police Department in this matter.  This case was 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.govor on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.

Updated July 17, 2019