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Masked Man Who Heisted Gems and Gold Corner Faces 20 Years In Prison: USAO

CHARLOTTE AMALIE — Despite a guilty plea, a St. Thomas man faces 20 years in prison for knocking over a jewelry store near Drake’s Passage on the downtown waterfront, authorities said.

Jamari S. Benjamin appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Ruth Miller in the U.S. District Court and entered a guilty plea to the charge of conspiracy to rob the Gems and Gold Corner jewelry store located in Charlotte Amalie, U.S. Attorney Gretchen C.F. Shappert said.

Benjamin faces up to twenty years in federal prison. The sentencing date will be set by the federal court.

According to Court documents, on Saturday, September 19, 2020, a white Suzuki Vitara arrived in the area of Gems & Gold Corner jewelry store located on the waterfront near Veteran’s Drive, St. Thomas. Benjamin was the driver of the white Suzuki Vitara.

Two men wearing masks, exited the white Suzuki Vitara with firearms and entered the Gems & Gold Corner jewelry store. The two masked men brandished the firearms and threatened the jewelry store employees and others.

One of the masked men physically assaulted a jewelry store employee using the firearm, striking the employee’s head.

The two masked men broke the jewelry showcases and took jewelry from the store. They then retreated from the jewelry store, got back into the white Suzuki Vitara, and were driven away from the area by Benjamin.

This case is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Virgin Islands Police Department.

It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Juan A. Albino.

This case is part of the Department of Justice’s Project Safe Neighborhood Initiative. Project Safe Neighborhood is a nationwide initiative that brings together federal, state, local and tribal law enforcement officials, prosecutors, and community leaders to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in a community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them. For more information on the Department of Justice’s Project Safe Neighborhoods, please see: https://www.justice.gov/psn

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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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