The Acting U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Florida filed charges against multiple defendants earlier this week. The complaint alleges that a team of four people conspired to and actually robbed several jewelry stores in multiple states. Specifically, they planned and executed robberies against stores in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee and North Carolina. The defendants crossed state lines to commit these crimes, therefore, it implicates federal law, additionally, it could implicate state charges. Generally, the federal crimes will be tried first, and then each state will get their turn to try any state-specific crimes.
The complaint alleges that at each robbery they used and brandished firearms, threatened employees and customers, forced them to the back of the store and zip-tied their wrists. They then stole jewelry and merchandise worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. Larceny, or the taking of property that isn’t yours, is a serious crime, but not nearly as serious as a robbery. The reason these crimes are “robberies” is because the defendants, allegedly, used weapons to perpetrate the crime. The use of a weapon during a crime enhances the seriousness of the crime; it is what elevates a crime from larceny to robbery.
The maximum punishment the defendants face is 20 years in prison. Bear in mind that this is merely a complaint, no court appearances have occurred yet. All of the court documents are publicly available. Additionally, this federal complaint does not implicate any additional state charges each defendant may face.
Robbery is a serious crime to be charged with. It is even more serious if you are implicated in federal court. You do not want to take these charges lightly. You can face serious prison time and other penalties. If you are confronted with a robbery charge, then you probably will want to consult with a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. This is a good rule to remember for any crime involving weapons.
Source: Department of Justice, “Georgia Residents Charged in Interstate Armed Jewelry Robbery Case,” Office of Public Affairs, Feb. 12, 2016.