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Press Release

Two Men Sentenced To Prison For The Armed Robbery Of A Pawn Shop And Related Charges

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of North Carolina
United States Attorney Anne M. Tompkins Western District Of North Carolina

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – On Tuesday, June 4, 2013, Chief U.S. District Judge Frank D. Whitney sentenced two men on charges stemming from the 2011 armed robbery of a pawn shop located on Central Avenue, announced Anne M. Tompkins, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina.

Wayne L. Dixie, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), Charlotte Field Division, and Chief Rodney D. Monroe of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department (CMPD) join U.S. Attorney Tompkins in making today’s announcement.

James Powell, IV, 23, of Mint Hill and Demontrez Lamont Dobie, 22, of Charlotte were sentenced to 162 months and 91 months in prison, respectively. Powell and Dobie were each also ordered to serve three years under court supervision upon release from prison.

According to court documents and yesterday’s sentencing hearing, Powell and Dobie robbed the Central Avenue Jewelry and Pawn on the morning of June 30, 2011, during business hours. Powell and Dobie, who wore wigs and sun glasses during the commission of the robbery, entered the pawnshop carrying two suit cases. Court records indicate that as Powell approached the counter, he pulled out a .380 caliber handgun and pointed it at the chest of one of the store employees. The defendants put the two employees of the store on the floor, and Dobie tied up the victims with shoe strings. According to court documents and court proceedings, while one of the victims was tied, Powell pistol whipped the victim in the head. Dobie struck the same victim in the ribs while the victim was tied up. During the robbery, Dobie stole the pawn shop employees’ .357 Magnum revolver, and brandished it. Powell then took cell phones and electronics belonging to the pawn shop and put them in the suitcases, all according to court documents. As law enforcement officers were responding to the scene, Powell and Dobie abandoned the suitcases, and, still armed, ran out the back door of the pawn shop. Law enforcement apprehended Powell and Dobie within a short distance from the pawn shop.

In June 2012, Dobie pleaded guilty to Hobbes Act robbery and aiding and abetting, and to possession and brandishing a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence and aiding and abetting. Powell pleaded guilty in August 2012 to conspiracy to commit interference with commerce by threat or violence (Hobbes Act conspiracy), Hobbes Act robbery and aiding and abetting, possession of firearm by felon, and possession and brandishing a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence and aiding and abetting.

In announcing the sentence, Judge Whitney stated that the robbery was a very violent offense and an egregious crime. Judge Whitney observed that Powell and Dobie were “lucky that [the robbery] did not lead to death or serious injury.”

The defendants have been in federal custody in the Western District of North. Upon designation of a federal facility, Powell and Dobie will be transferred into custody of the Federal Bureau of Prisons. Federal sentences are served without the possibility of parole.

The investigation was handled by ATF and CMPD. The prosecution for the government was handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert Gleason of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Charlotte.

Updated March 19, 2015