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Justice News

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

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Four Sentenced For Robbing A Traveling Jeweler In College Station

One Remaining Fugitive Sought – Reward Offered

HOUSTON – Four people have been sentenced to federal prison for robbing an interstate traveling jeweler of jewelry in College Station, United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson announced today.

Ivan Carvajal, 30, and Tito Vargas, 25, both of Houston, previously pleaded guilty and were sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Lynn Hughes to 136 and 57 months, respectively. Luis Flores, 22, of Houston, and Maria Guitierrez, 32, of Atlanta, Ga., had also entered a plea of guilty and were both previously sentenced to 60 months in prison.

One remaining defendant, Brayan Vargas (no relation to Tito Vargas), 19, of Bogota, Colombia, is currently a fugitive in the case and a warrant remains outstanding for his arrest. A photograph is attached. Crime Stoppers will pay up to $5,000 for any information called in to 713-222-TIPS (8477) or submitted online at www.crime-stoppers.org  that leads to the location and arrest of Brayan Vargas. Tips can also be sent by text message. Text TIP610 plus your tip to CRIMES (274637). All tipsters remain anonymous.

On Aug. 24, 2011, the defendants traveled in several cars and followed a traveling jeweler from New York he visited several jewelry stores to show his merchandise. At one point, Gutierrez even followed him into an electronics store as he shopped.

The next day, the five robbers waited for him at the location where he had left his merchandise at the end of the previous evening as he came to retrieve his items. They met with others and followed him again from Houston to College Station in at least four cars. Eventually, in College Station, they robbed him of approximately $200,000 worth of jewelry at gunpoint.

Immediately thereafter, Gutierrez and Carvajal were involved in a traffic accident, but fled. They were soon arrested for fleeing the scene of an accident. Inside the car, officers found broken glass consistent with the recent broken window from the victim’s car along with other evidence tying them to the robbery.

Brayan Vargas and Tito Vargas were later arrested at apartment complex in Houston for their role in the College Station robbery based upon evidence developed after the robbery. At the time of their arrest, agents located a large sum of U.S. currency, a diamond tester and jewelry taken during the College Station robbery. They also discovered jewelry taken during a robbery in Shreveport, La.

Luis Flores was arrested for his role in the College Station robbery while serving time in Texas Department of Corrections for an attempted theft of a jeweler that occurred on April 21, 2011. At the time of the College Station robbery, he was out on bond on that charge.

Brayan Vargas, who was initially arrested on related state charges, had been released on bond on those charges but fled. He is currently a fugitive for both the state warrant and the federal warrant for robbing a jeweler traveling in interstate commerce. 

This prosecution is a result of the collaborative work of members of the FBI, police departments in College Station and Navasota, Brazos County District Attorney’s Office and the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kebharu H. Smith and Joe Magliolo are prosecuting the case.

Updated April 30, 2015