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Press Release

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Announces Another Arrest For May 2015 Gunpoint Robbery Of Watch Store In Midtown Manhattan

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of New York
Robbers Stole Gold Rolex Watches Valued at More Than $700,000

Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Charlie Patterson, the Acting Special Agent in Charge of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (“ATF”), and William Bratton, the Police Commissioner of the City of New York (“NYPD”), announced the arrest of CHRISTOPHER MULLIGAN on charges of robbery conspiracy, robbery, and a firearms offense.  MULLIGAN was arrested yesterday in Stockton, California, and will be presented later today in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California.

One other defendant, Omar Rawlins, was arrested on May 12, 2015, the day of the robbery, in connection with the same charges, contained in a Complaint.  Rawlins’s case was assigned to the Honorable Kimba M. Wood, United States District Judge for the Southern District of New York, and he pled guilty to participating in a conspiracy to rob the Tourneau Watch Store.  Rawlins’s sentencing remains pending.

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said: “In broad daylight in Midtown Manhattan, Mulligan and his co-conspirators allegedly carried out a gunpoint robbery of a Madison Avenue watch store, stealing not just Rolex watches worth more than $700,000, but robbing New York City residents of their sense of security.  Thanks to good old-fashioned police work by the ATF and the NYPD, Mulligan has joined his alleged co-conspirator Omar Rawlins in facing federal criminal charges.”

ATF Acting Special Agent in Charge Charlie Patterson said: “This arrest is the culmination of the diligent investigative work of the ATF Special Agents and NYPD Detectives assigned to the ATF SPARTA Task Force, which investigates armed commercial robberies throughout New York City.  The arrest of Mr. Mulligan should serve as a warning to those out there engaged in these violent crimes that we will bring the full force of the federal justice system to bear against you.  While it may seem that you can receive a quick payday by committing an armed robbery, the price you will pay is a lengthy prison sentence in a federal penitentiary.  ATF would like to extend our gratitude to the NYPD and the United States Attorney’s Office for their continued partnership in combatting violent crime in New York City.”

NYPD Commissioner William J. Bratton said: “This violent crime at a Midtown watch store took 60 seconds to commit, but after being indicted and apprehended in California, the defendant’s time on the lam has run out and he’s facing decades in prison if convicted.  I want to thank the investigators from the Southern District, the ATF and the NYPD who worked on this investigation and tracked the defendant to Pennsylvania and then cross-country.”

According to the allegations contained in the Indictment charging MULLIGAN, the Complaint[1] charging Rawlins, and other documents in the public record, and statements made in court:

On May 12, 2015, MULLIGAN, Rawlins, and a third individual committed a gunpoint robbery of the Tourneau Watch Store (“Tourneau”) in Midtown Manhattan.  At the time of the robbery, all three men were dressed in suits and fedoras.  After entering Tourneau, one of the men produced a gun and fired a round into the floor.  The bullet fragmented, and a customer was hit with a bullet fragment, receiving a minor laceration.  The two other robbers hit one of the glass display cases with hammers.  The display case shattered, and the two robbers began removing watches from the display case.  A Tourneau employee stuck his head out through a door behind the display case.  The robber with the gun fired a shot in the direction of the employee, who was not hit.  After approximately one minute, all three robbers exited Tourneau and began running.  They were pursued by NYPD officers, who caught up to and arrested Rawlins.  When Rawlins was arrested, he was carrying, among other things, five watches, a hammer, two pairs of gloves, a yellow hard hat, and a yellow safety vest.  Surveillance footage captured some of MULLIGAN, Rawlins, and the third robber’s activities as they executed the robbery.  In total, the crew obtained approximately 20 Rolex watches, worth approximately $730,000.

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MULLIGAN, 22, of Brooklyn, is charged with one count of robbery conspiracy, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison; one count of robbery, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison; and one count of use of a firearm, which carries a maximum sentence of life in prison.  The maximum potential sentences in this case are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendant will be determined by a judge.

Mr. Bharara praised the investigative work of the ATF and the NYPD, and in particular, the ATF Strategic Pattern Armed Robbery and Technical Apprehensions (“SPARTA”) Task Force.  Mr. Bharara also thanked the United States Marshals Service and the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of California for their assistance in the arrest and apprehension of MULLIGAN.

The case is being prosecuted by the Office’s Violent and Organized Crime Unit.  Assistant United States Attorneys Jessica Lonergan and Christopher J. Clore are in charge of the prosecution.

The charges contained in the Indictment are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.


[1] As the introductory phrase signifies, the entirety of the texts of the Indictment and the Complaint and the descriptions of the Indictment and Complaint set forth below constitute only allegations, and every fact described should be treated as an allegation.

Updated August 19, 2016

Violent Crime
Press Release Number: 16-227