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Press Release

Man Responsible for Violent Crime Spree in Central Virginia to Serve 30 Years in Prison

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Virginia

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va.-A Gordonsville, Virginia man, who committed a series of armed robberies of commercial businesses in the City of Charlottesville, Albemarle County, and Stafford County in the Summer of 2020, was sentenced today to 30 years in federal prison. 

Dominique Dejone Thurston, 23, pleaded guilty in October 2021 to seven counts of Hobbs Act robbery and two counts of brandishing and possessing a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence.

“Throughout the summer of 2020, Thurston terrorized local businesses and endangered the lives of numerous store clerks during his armed robbery spree.  In many cases, his brutality was remarkable.  He pistol-whipped store employees who were not even resisting his demands.  This case shows how just one person can undermine how safe a community feels, and how important it is that federal, state, and local resources come together when the effects of violence are felt.  His violent spree ended as a direct result of the collaborative efforts of our law enforcement partners,” United States Attorney Christopher R. Kavanaugh said today.

“Today’s announcement sends a true message that acts of violence like those involved in this investigation will not be tolerated.  We are extremely thankful that none of the hardworking people who were victimized by this individual were killed.  We hope this sentencing will help calm fears and restore our community to some sense of normalcy.  I am proud that our agents and partnering agencies worked around the clock to bring justice to those responsible.  ATF is always honored to stand side by side with the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the Albemarle County Police Department, the City of Charlottesville Police Department, and the Stafford County Police Department as we collectively disrupt violent offenders,” ATF Special Agent in Charge Charlie J. Patterson said. “The ATF Washington Field Division will continue to collaborate with our partners to ensure citizens are protected against those individuals who have no regard for others or property within our communities.”

“Cases such as this one demonstrates the Albemarle County Police Department’s continued commitment to working with our federal, state, and local law enforcement partners, and is a prime example of how investigators have success when law enforcement agencies cooperate and share information. Due to the diligence and cooperation between our department, Charlottesville Police Department’s Criminal Investigations Division, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms,  Stafford County Sheriff’s Office, District 9 Probation and Parole and the US Attorney’s Office, our community is that much safer,” said Colonel Sean Reeves, Chief of Albemarle County Police.

According to court documents, Thurston committed a series of armed Hobbs Act robberies at commercial businesses in Albemarle County and the City of Charlottesville. These robberies included the Oak Hill Market in Albemarle County, the 7-Eleven on Ivy Road in the City of Charlottesville, a BP gas station convenience store in the City of Charlottesville, the 7-Eleven on Greenbrier Drive in Albemarle County, a Kangaroo Gas station in Albemarle County, a 7 Day Junior Store in the City of Charlottesville, and the 7-Eleven on Boulderview Road in Albemarle County.

During each robbery, Thurston entered the store, placed an item on the checkout counter, and then brandished his gun at the clerks while demanding all the cash in their registers. In several of the robberies, Thurston pistol-whipped clerks even though none of them were resisting his demands.

The investigation of the case was conducted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, the Albemarle County Police Department, the City of Charlottesville Police Department, the City of Charlottesville Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office, and the Stafford County Sheriff’s Office.  

Assistant United States Attorney Ronald M. Huber and Special Assistant United States Attorney Nina-Alice Antony with the Charlottesville Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office prosecuted the case for the United States.

Updated March 7, 2022

Violent Crime