Four men were sentenced Thursday to federal prison for their parts in last March’s daylight armed robbery of the Imperial Jewelry Store on Main Street in Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas.
According to U.S. Attorney Ronald W. Sharpe, District Court Judge Curtis V. Gomez sentenced Shaquim Fredericks, 20, Warkim J. Gabriel, 19, and Chefton C. Newton, 26, to 108 months each in federal prison. The judge sentenced Alvin M. Thomas to 85 months in prison.
In July a District Court jury found Fredericks, Gabriel, Newton and Thomas guilty of conspiracy to interfere with commerce by robbery, interference with commerce by robbery and conspiracy to possess a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence, a news release from Sharpe’s office said.
Evidence at the three-day trial showed that at about 9:30 a.m. on March 15, 2014, Fredericks, Gabriel, Newton and Thomas, along with other conspirators, dressed in all black clothing, wearing ski masks and possessing at least three firearms, entered the store, pointed the handguns at the employees and patrons of the store, and proceeded to take several hundred pieces of jewelry with an overall value of $2 million.
Testimony from witnesses said the perpetrators jumped over counters, broke glass display cases and placed the stolen jewelry in their backpacks. The perpetrators kept the patrons and employees at bay with threats of violence and firearms. The perpetrators then fled to the Catherineberg area where they were arrested.
According to the police report of the incident, no shots were fired in the store. Officers arriving at the scene were directed up a nearby alley in the direction of Catherineberg. Police pursued the suspects, creating a perimeter around a bushy area. VIPD officers who were both on and off duty, detectives, K9 officers and law enforcement officers from other agencies responded to assist with the search, the police reported at the time.
At least one shot was fired by suspects while they were surrounded, police said.
Police apprehended six suspects hiding in the vegetation, the four men sentenced Thursday, and two minors. Officers also confiscated three firearms and several bags of jewelry, which was later identified as the merchandise stolen from Imperial Jewelers.
In addition to a prison term, each of the perpetrators was sentenced to three years of supervised release, a $300 special assessment, and ordered to pay restitution to the jewelry store’s insurance carrier.
The case was investigated by the Virgin Islands Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and was prosecuted by former Assistant U.S. Attorney Kelly Lake.