A federal grand jury indicted three young men on February 3 for allegedly committing six smash-and-grab, daylight robberies of cell phone stores in Los Angeles and Ventura counties.
Two of the men, allegedly wielding hammers, are accused of barging into open stores, intimidating customers, and breaking open display cases to steal iPhones and other valuable items. The third man was identified as the getaway driver.
According to a press release from the U.S. Attorney's Office (USAO) of the Central District of California, all robberies occurred during a January 15 crime spree. Five T-Mobile stores in Long Beach, Carson, Inglewood, Encino, and Camarillo were hit, and one AT&T Wireless store in Woodland Hills.
Telltale Cell Phones
Ironically, law enforcement tracked the GPS on two of the suspects' cell phones that placed them in the vicinity of the robbed stores when the crimes were committed. A tracker on their Kia Optima also proved their car was also at the robbery locations when the robberies occurred.
Police tracked down the car in North Hollywood while the trio was still in the car. They arrested the men, ranging in age from 20 to 23, and recovered some of the stolen goods, according to the USAO. Additionally, officers found distinctively colored hammers that matched the descriptions given by witnesses and victims.
Although the three men are suspects in more than 50 similar robberies, they are only indicted for the well-documented crimes of January 15. The criminal complaint charges each man with one count of conspiracy and six counts of “interference with commerce by robbery” under the Hobbs Act. That federal law defines robbery as “unlawfully taking another person’s property by means of actual or threatened force.”
If convicted, each defendant faces a statutory maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison on each count. Rather than charging the defendants with all the crimes in which they are suspects, federal prosecutors have built what appears to be an airtight case for the January 15 incidents.
Anyone indicted by a federal grand jury needs a top-notch criminal defense lawyer with federal experience like the Sigal Law Group. Call 818 325-0570 for a free consultation.