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Jewelry Store Robbers Who Stayed In A Hotel Room Prior To Heist Get Seven And Nine Years In Prison Respectively


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CHARLOTTE AMALIE – U.S. District Court Judge Curtis Gomez on Wednesday sentenced two men for their roles in the robbery of two St. Thomas jewelry stores that involved the use of guns, the U.S. Department of Justice said.

Turrel Thomas, 21, of St. Kitts, was sentenced to seven years and seven months in prison, followed by five years of supervised release, according to Acting U.S. Attorney Jocelyn Hewlett.

Raheem “Caesar” Miller, 24, of St. Thomas, was sentenced to nine years and 11 months in prison and ordered to serve five years of supervised release, Hewlett said.

Judge Gomez also ordered Thomas and Miller to perform 400 hours of community service each, and pay a special assessment of $200 and $300, respectively.

On February 21, 2017, Thomas pleaded guilty to one count of Hobbs Act robbery and one count of brandishing a firearm during a federal crime of violence.

On the same day, Miller pleaded guilty to two counts of conspiracy to commit Hobbs Act robbery and one count of brandishing a firearm during a crime of violence.

According to the plea agreements, Thomas and Miller conspired with others to rob Signature Jewelers on August 19, 2015, and 3G’s Jewelry and Repair on September 14, 2015.

During both robberies, weapons were brandished and the robbers used duct tape to bind and gag victims before fleeing the store with cash and merchandise.

On June 29, 2017, Judge Gomez sentenced another member of the conspiracy, Aracelis N. Ayala a/k/a “Gordita” a/k/a “Fluff,” 34, to 11 years’ imprisonment and five years of supervised release.

According to the evidence presented at trial, Ayala and the two men conspired to rob Signature Jewelers on August 19, 2015. Ayala provided cash, rented a vehicle, and secured hotel rooms for them on St. Thomas.

On February 23, 2017, a federal jury found Ayala guilty 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.

The case is a result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Virgin Islands Police Department (VIPD).

It 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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