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St. Croix Man Accused of Stealing $161,000 Worth Of Jewelry From St. Thomas Store Appears In Federal Court

CHARLOTTE AMALIE – A St. Croix man accused of being one of four men who robbed Gems and Gold Corner in St. Thomas of $161,000 worth of jewelry four years ago made his initial appearance in federal court on Tuesday.

Shaquielle Correa, 21, appeared before U.S. Magistrate Court Judge Ruth Miller after being charged by indictment with Hobbs Act robbery, conspiracy to commit Hobbs Act robbery, and brandishing a firearm during a federal crime of violence, Acting U.S. Attorney Joycelyn Hewlett said.

Correa, along with Jarmaine Ayala, 36, Wahilli James, 21, each of St. Croix, and Ron Delano Kuntz, 42, of St. Thomas, are charged in a conspiracy to rob Gems and Gold Corner Jewelry Store on St. Thomas in 2013.

All four men are scheduled to be arraigned on June 26, 2017. Kuntz was extradited from Arizona in December.

According to the indictment, on September 16, 2013, the four men conspired with each other and other unidentified co-conspirators to rob the store, brandished weapons to threaten and intimidate store employees, and then fled the store with merchandise.

If convicted, each of the four men face up to 20 years in prison on the Hobbs Act robbery charge, plus a mandatory seven-year consecutive sentence for the brandishing a firearm charge.

The case is being investigated by the Virgin Islands Police Department (VIPD) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Anna Vlasova and Kim Chisholm.

Hewlett said that an indictment is merely a formal charging document and is not in and of itself evidence of guilt.

“Every defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty,” she said.


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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everything from coliform bacteria to Cryptosporidium in locally-bottled St. Croix drinking water, according to a then-unpublished University of the Virgin Islands sampling.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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