Two More Plead Guilty in McDonald’s Restaurant Armed Robbery
St. Thomas, USVI – Betel Rosario Paulino, 18, of the Dominican Republic pleaded guilty on July 27, and Helwood Paris, 20, of Puerto Rico, pleaded guilty on Monday in District Court for their roles in the armed robbery of the McDonald’s restaurant on St. Thomas, Acting United States Attorney Joycelyn Hewlett announced. Paris pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit Hobbs Act robbery and the territorial charge of robbery in the first degree and Paulino pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit Hobbs Act robbery and discharge of a firearm during a federal crime of violence. Sentencing is set for November 30, 2017.
According to the plea agreement filed with the court, on March 25, 2017, members of the Virgin Islands Police Department (VIPD) responded to reports of a robbery in progress at the McDonald’s restaurant in the Lockhart Shopping Center. Paris and Paulino were arrested after the investigation revealed that they were involved in the planning, execution and attempt at covering up the robbery. Two other men, Junior Feliz and Hanselo Recio, previously entered guilty pleas based on their roles in the robbery. Their sentencing hearing is set for October 5, 2017.
Paris faces up to 20 years in prison for each of the two counts: conspiracy to commit Hobbs Act robbery and the territorial charge of robbery in the first degree.
Paulino faces up to 20 years in prison for conspiracy to commit Hobbs Act robbery and a mandatory 10-year consecutive sentence for discharge of a firearm during a federal crime of violence.
The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigations, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and VIPD. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Sigrid M. Tejo-Sprotte and Criminal Chief Christian A. Fisanick.