Bronx Man Sentenced To 38 Years In Prison For 2018 Murder During Which He Shot The Victim’s Five-Year-Old Son
Damian Williams, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Keechant L. Sewell, the Commissioner of the New York City Police Department (“NYPD”), and John B. DeVito, the Special Agent in Charge of the New York Field Division of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (“ATF”), announced the arrest of IGGAL COPELAND for robbing at gunpoint an electronics store in Manhattan while a 74-year-old store employee was opening for business. COPELAND was arrested this morning and will be presented today before Chief U.S. Magistrate Judge James L. Cott.
U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said: “The defendant’s alleged conduct was violent and callous. He and another suspect allegedly forced their way into an electronics store disguised as FedEx workers, held a gun to an elderly store employee’s head, hit the employee in the back of the head with the gun, and threatened that if the employee did not open a safe within the store, they would harm the employee’s young granddaughter while on her way to school. This Office will continue to aggressively prosecute those who commit violent robberies and terrorize hardworking New Yorkers.”
NYPD Commissioner Keechant L. Sewell said: “This arrest by the ATF/NYPD SPARTA Join Robbery Task Force is another example of New York City’s strong law enforcement partnerships combatting violent crime and holding accountable anyone who endangers people in our communities. We vow to remain relentless in identifying and investigating anyone who wields an illegal gun on our streets. Due to the efforts of our investigators and the prosecutors at the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District, this defendant now faces the prospect of significant federal prison time.”
ATF Special Agent in Charge John B. DeVito said: “This allegedly brazen and horrendous crime against anyone, let alone a hardworking New York family, is both atrocious and unacceptable within our society. The men and women of ATF NY’s SPARTA (Strategic Pattern Armed Robbery Technical Apprehension) group will continue to work with our partners at the NYPD Manhattan Robbery Squad to protect the public from those who terrorize our communities. Swift investigative follow up and this arrest highlight the indispensable work of our collaborative effort to identify and stop violent criminals on the streets of New York.”
According to the allegations contained in the Complaint and court filings:[]
On or about April 21, 2023, COPELAND and another individual (“CC-1”) robbed at gunpoint (the “Robbery”) an electronics store in New York, New York (the “Store”). COPELAND and CC-1 drove to the Robbery using a vehicle with stolen plates that was abandoned in Brooklyn after the Robbery. To gain access to the Store, COPELAND and CC-1 disguised themselves as FedEx employees while a 74-year-old store employee (“Victim-1”) was opening the Store for business in the morning. The FedEx uniforms the defendant wore are pictured below:
COPELAND and CC-1 forced Victim-1 to a back room and attempted to gain access to a safe. While CC-1 held a gun to Victim-1’s head, COPELAND said, “Stop yelling” and “Open the door [to the safe] . . . do you want your granddaughter [to overhear] when she comes down for school.” COPELAND then said, “I’m about to kill his grandbaby . . . he’s fuckin’ playing games.”
After attempting unsuccessfully to gain access to the safe, COPELAND and CC-1 took approximately $1,500 from Victim-1. They then ran to the front of the Store and CC-1 pushed the 73-year-old female employee of the Store (“Victim-2”) to the ground. Two individuals outside of the Store heard screams coming from Victim-2 inside the Store, intervened to stop the Robbery, and unsuccessfully attempted to stop COPELAND and CC-1 from fleeing the scene.
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COPELAND, 46, of Union City, New Jersey, is charged with one count of conspiracy to commit Hobbs Act robbery and one count of Hobbs Act robbery, which each carry a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, and one count of using and brandishing a firearm in the commission of a crime of violence, which carries a mandatory minimum sentence of seven years in prison and a maximum sentence of life in prison.
The mandatory minimum and 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. Williams praised the outstanding investigative work of the ATF and NYPD, in particular, the Strategic Patterned Armed Robbery Technical Apprehension (“SPARTA”) Task Force, which is composed of agents and officers of the ATF and the NYPD.
This case is being handled by the Office’s General Crimes Unit. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey W. Coyle is in charge of the prosecution.
The charges contained in the Complaint are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
 As the introductory phrase signifies, the entirety of the text of the Complaint and the description of the Complaint set forth herein constitute only allegations, and every fact described should be treated as an allegation.