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Aracelis ‘Fatty Fluff’ of Rock City Goes Down For The Count In St. Thomas Jewelry Store Heist

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CHARLOTTE AMALIE – A St. Thomas woman who federal authorities said was responsible for a string of jewelry store robberies in St. Thomas has been found guilty after standing trial.

On February 23, 2017, Aracelis N. Ayala a/k/a “Gordita” a/k/a “Fluff,” 34, was found guilty by a federal jury of one count of Hobbs Act robbery, one count of conspiracy to commit Hobbs Act robbery, one count of brandishing a firearm during a crime of violence, and one count of robbery in the first degree, U.S. Attorney Ronald Sharpe said.

Ayala faces up to 20 years on each of the Hobbs Act robbery and local robbery charges and a consecutive mandatory minimum sentence of seven years for the brandishing of a firearm charge, Sharpe said.

Judge Curtis Gomez remanded Ayala into the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service pending her sentencing on June 29, 2017.

According to the evidence presented at trial, Ayala was a member of a robbery crew that conspired to rob Signature Jewelers on August 19, 2015.

Ayala conspired with other individuals to rob the store by providing cash and a handgun, renting a vehicle, and securing hotel rooms on St. Thomas.

Upon entering the store, Ayala’s cohorts brandished a handgun to threaten the store employees and used duct tape to bind and gag them before fleeing with cash and merchandise. Other members of the conspiracy, Turrel Thomas, 21, and Raheem Miller a/k/a “Caesar,” 24, pleaded guilty to Hobbs Act robbery and related firearm offenses.

All of the guilty were remanded to the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service pending sentencing on June 22, 2017.

This case is a result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Virgin Islands Police Department (VIPD) and was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Anna Vlasova and Sigrid Tejo-Sprotte.

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The Author

John McCarthy

John McCarthy

John McCarthy is primarily known for his investigative reporting on the U.S. Virgin Islands. A series of reports beginning in the 1990's revealed that there was everything from coliform bacteria to Cryptosporidium in locally-bottled St. Croix drinking water, according to a then-unpublished University of the Virgin Islands sampling. Another report, following Hurricane Hugo in 1989, cited a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) confidential overview that said that over 40 percent of the U.S. Virgin Islands public lives below the poverty line. The Virgin Islands Free Press is the only Caribbean news source to regularly incorporate the findings of U.S. Freedom of Information Act requests. John's articles have appeared in the BVI Beacon, St. Croix Avis, San Juan Star and Virgin Islands Daily News. He is the former news director of WSVI-TV Channel 8 on St. Croix.

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