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Two More St. Thomas Men Plead Guilty in McDonald’s Restaurant Armed Shotgun Robbery

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CHARLOTTE AMALIE  — A native of the Dominican Republic who claimed credit for masterminding the shotgun robbery at the Lockhart Gardens McDonald’s that left another teen dead has changed his plea to guilty.

Betel Augusto Rosario Paulino, 18, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to one count of conspiracy to commit Hobbs Act robbery, a federal charge that refers to a robbery that interferes with interstate commerce, and one count of discharging of a firearm during a crime of violence.

Helwood Urbina Paris, 20, of Puerto Rico, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit Hobbs Act robbery and the territorial charge of first-degree robbery. He was in the getaway car and lived in Estate Thomas.

Sentencing is set for November 30, 2017.

According to the plea agreement filed with the court, on March 25, 2017, members of the Virgin Islands Police Department (VIPD) responded to reports of a robbery in progress at the McDonald’s restaurant in the Lockhart Shopping Center.

Paris and Paulino were arrested after the investigation revealed that they were involved in the planning, execution and attempt at covering up the robbery.

Two other men, Junior Feliz and Hanselo Recio, previously entered guilty pleas based on their roles in the robbery. Their sentencing hearing is set for October 5, 2017.

Paris faces up to 20 years in prison for each of the two counts: conspiracy to commit Hobbs Act robbery and the territorial charge of robbery in the first degree.

Paulino faces up to 20 years in prison for conspiracy to commit Hobbs Act robbery and a mandatory 10-year consecutive sentence for discharge of a firearm during a federal crime of violence.

The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and VIPD.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Sigrid Tejo-Sprotte and Criminal Chief Christian Fisanick.

 

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everything from coliform bacteria to Cryptosporidium in locally-bottled St. Croix drinking water, according to a then-unpublished University of the Virgin Islands sampling.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