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Press Release

Six Individuals Charged In Manhattan Federal Court In Connection With Armed Robberies Of Cell Phone Stores

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of New York
Defendants Allegedly Engaged In Over 30 Armed Robberies And Attempted Armed Robberies In The Bronx, Queens, And Brooklyn

Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and Raymond W. Kelly, the Police Commissioner of the City of New York (“NYPD”), announced today the unsealing of an Indictment charging six members of an armed robbery crew operating in the Bronx, Brooklyn and Queens, with robbery conspiracy and firearms offenses. Five of the defendants charged in the Indictment – HENRY JAMES, EDWARD MATTHEWS, KELVIN GREEN, UNTRA JONES JR., and TYRELL JONES – were previously charged by complaint in September 2013. Of the five defendants charged in September 2013, all but HENRY JAMES were previously arrested, remanded, and remain in custody. JAMES and previously uncharged defendant JEROME ORTIZ were arrested on Wednesday and presented before U.S. Magistrate Judge Frank Maas yesterday. JAMES and ORTIZ were detained.

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said: “As alleged, the defendants unleashed a rash of robberies at gunpoint across three boroughs, in which they stole money and cell phones while dressed in disguise. The perpetrators of violence cannot hide from the law, as the arrests of these defendants show.”

NYPD Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly said: “New York City is a safer place for residents and businesses because of our continued efforts to stop the source of violent crime. In this case, our investigators tracked down and apprehended a gang that allegedly robbed numerous stores across three boroughs at gunpoint. I commend our detectives for their diligent efforts as well as our federal partners and the prosecutors with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for their fine work throughout this investigation.”

According to the allegations contained in the Superseding Indictment and other court documents previously filed in Manhattan federal court:

Between approximately July 2013 and October 2013, members of the robbery crew engaged in a series of over 30 armed robberies and attempted armed robberies of cellular phone stores located throughout the Bronx, Queens, and Brooklyn.

The robberies followed a simple but violent pattern: On each occasion, two or three members of the crew would enter a cellular phone store, often wearing masks, wigs and other disguises; each member of the crew would have a gun; and the robbers would brandish their guns and demand money and cellular phones from employees of the stores.

JAMES, 45, of Brooklyn, New York; ORTIZ, 40, of Brooklyn, New York; MATTHEWS, 61, of Brooklyn, New York; GREEN, 44, of Brooklyn, New York; TYRELL JONES, 26, of Bronx, New York; and UNTA JONES, 27, of Brooklyn, New York, are each charged with one count of Hobbs Act robbery conspiracy, which carries a maximum sentence of life in prison, and one count of brandishing a firearm in furtherance of the Hobbs Act robbery conspiracy, which carries a maximum sentence of life in prison.

Mr. Bharara praised the investigative work of the NYPD, especially detectives from the Bronx Robbery Squad and Brooklyn Robbery Squad. Mr. Bharara also thanked the U.S. Marshals Service Fugitive Squad for their outstanding assistance in the pursuit and arrest of JAMES.

The case is being prosecuted by the Office’s Violent Crimes Unit. Assistant United States Attorneys Andrew Bauer and Andrea Griswold are in charge of the prosecution.

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

U.S. v. Henry James et al. Indictment

Updated May 18, 2015

Press Release Number: 13-321