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Bulge In Pants Pocket Didn’t Mean Suspect Was Happy To See Police

CHARLOTTE AMALIE — Sometimes a bulge in your pocket is just a bulge in your pocket.

But for one St. Thomas man, a bulge in his pants signaled 5o police that he had a gun magazine cartridge stuffed there.

Sherquan Merrifield was arrested Sunday and charged with possession of an unlicensed firearm and possession of ammunition. Unable to post $50,000 bail, he was jailed pending an advice-of-rights hearing scheduled for Monday.

Around 12:45 a.m., police in Havensight spotted a large group of men smoking marijuana at a bar and restaurant, the probable cause fact sheet said.

Officers warned the men about smoking marijuana and the crowd began to put out and hide the marijuana cigarettes, according to the sworn affidavit.

Several men wearing large jackets “started acting out of the normal by easing away from the area,” and an officer noticed what appeared to be a gun magazine in a back pocket.

According to the affidavit, the officer conferred with another cop who agreed the man, later identified as Merrifield, “had clearly what resembled a gun magazine bulging out of his back left pocket.”

Merrifield first agreed to speak with police and admitted he does not have a firearm license. He then turned to run, but was detained.

Officers found a loaded black Glock 19 pistol in his pocket, and another 15-round, fully loaded magazine in his back pocket, according to the fact sheet.

At the advice-of-rights hearing, Territorial Public Defender Kele Onyejekwe argued that police did not have probable cause to conduct a search because they did not know whether Merrifield was licensed to carry a weapon at the time they approached him.

“He voluntarily agreed to speak with the officers,” countered Assistant Virgin Islands Attorney General Brenda Scales.

Magistrate Judge Paula Norkaitis found probable cause for the arrest, and set bail at $10,000. She said Merrifield may post 10 percent of that in cash.

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2 Lovenlund Men Charged In Dec. 4 Havensight Mall Jewelry Robbery: VIPD

CHARLOTTE AMALIE — Two St. Thomas men were arrested Friday afternoon in connection to a gunpoint jewelry robbery at Havensight Mall last month, authorities said.

Jaquin Phipps, 25, and Demoi Barrow, 22, each of Lovenlund Apartments, were arrested at 12:34 p.m. Friday and charged with first-degree robbery, second-degree robbery, first-degree assault, third-degree assault, grand larceny, simple assault, and brandishing, exhibiting, or using deadly weapons, the Virgin Islands Police Department said.

“Phipps and Barrow were charged in connection with an incident that occurred in Havensight on December 4, 2021, where a male victim was robbed of jewelry at gunpoint,” VIPD spokesman Toby Derima said.

2 Lovenlund Men Charged In Dec. 4 Havensight Mall Jewelry Robbery: VIPD
VIPD mugshot of Jaquin Phipps, 25, of Lovenlund Apartments in St. Thomas.

Bail for Phipps and Barrow was set at $75,000 each. Unable to post bail, each man was remanded to the custody of the Bureau of Corrections pending advice-of-rights hearings.

In the December 4 incident, the victim – accompanied by two females – was approached by a male suspect, wearing a red hoodie, who attempted to rob him of his jewelry, according to the VIPD.

The suspect and the victim engaged in a physical altercation when a second male suspect, attired in a black hoodie, approached the two with a handgun, police said.

The suspects – driving a gray sedan – managed to flee the area with the victim’s jewelry, according to Derima.

None of the victims were harmed during the robbery.

Barrington Thomas, Sr., St. Thomas/St. John/Water Island chief of police, commended the work of detectives investigating this incident, resulting in the arrests of the two suspects.

“Criminals must know that our officers will stop at nothing to bring them to justice. We thank the community for the support as we work together to make our home safe,” Chief Thomas said.

This case remains under investigation by the Criminal Investigation Bureau.

2 Lovenlund Men Charged In Dec. 4 Havensight Mall Jewelry Robbery: VIPD
VIPD mugshot of Demoi Barrow, 22, of Lovenlund Apartments in St. Thomas.

All individuals listed as arrested or charged with a crime in this report are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

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Shopper Shot In Glitter’s Jewelry Store Robbery Dies ‘During Medical Treatment’

CHARLOTTE AMALIE — The female shopper who was shot in the chest at Glitter’s Fine Jewelry on December 4 when it was stormed by three armed men has died “while receiving medical treatment,” authorities said today.

Gregorianna Julien, 56, “succumbed to her injuries while receiving medical treatment,” the Virgin Islands Police Department said in a 4:44 a.m. press release.

“The cause of death is unknown at this time and will be determined following an autopsy,” VIPD spokesman Toby Derima said.

Police have to await the results of an autopsy to determine the exact cause of death before a decision can be made on whether to upgrade charges to murder, according to Derima.

On December 17, police arrested and charged Miciah Cozier, 18, of Estate Mandahl, in the attempted robbery of Glitter’s Fine Jewelry store at Havensight Mall. Three minors — all under age 18 and who by law cannot be identified unless bound over as adults — were also arrested at that time.

Shopper Shot In Glitter's Jewelry Store Robbery Dies 'During Medical Treatment'
CHARGED: Miciah Cozier, 18 of Estate Mandahl in St. Thomas.

Julien was one of two people shot in the Havensight Mall jewelry store attempted robbery last month. A security guard who was shot in the stomach was said by police to be recovering well. Police had previously said Julien was recovering well also.

Virgin Islands Attorney General Denise George and acting Police Commissioner Ray Martinez, who announced the arrests at a press briefing, said Cozier and his three minor accomplices face several changes including attempted murder; two counts of first-degree assault, first-degree robbery; second-degree robbery kidnapping, two counts of third-degree assault, two counts of mayhem, unlawful entry, two counts of carrying a firearm during a crime of violence, reckless endangerment, first-degree grand larceny, unauthorized use of a vehicle, two counts possession of an unlicensed firearm within 100 feet of a public housing community and conspiracy.

Meanwhile, Julien, was an active member of the Emmanuel Baptist Church USVI in Anna’s Retreat in St. Thomas.

“My husband is 66 years old and has been a responsible gun owner for years,” Mariann Groshans said. “When we moved to the island it took him almost 1 year to get 1 gun after an extensive background check and a home inspection. Where are these kids getting these weapons? They need to be prosecuted to the fullest extent.”

“What were the ages of the minors? Since there is now a murder, the minors must be charged as adults,” Patrick Deery said from St. Thomas.

“Dread mehson ayu hard gone and throw in deh woman (sad emoji) RIP,” Jahni Mogul said. “I hear she try to run out cause her daughter was in the car (heart emoji).”

Virgin Islands Free Press so sad. I see hopelessness in his eyes. Such a sad story,” Hibiscus Brathwaite said. “Another angel taken too soon.”

Shopper Shot In Glitter's Jewelry Store Robbery Dies 'During Medical Treatment'

“Our most sincere and deepest condolences go out to the friends and family of our dear sister in Christ, Gregorianna Julien,” the church said on its Facebook page Sunday. “She will be missed by her EBC family and so many more.”

“My condolences goes out to the family may she rest in eternal peace,” Jennis Weekes said. “Stay strong Julien.” 

“Condolences to her family,” Delvin Duggins said. “May God cover them during this difficult time.”

“My condolences to the family rest in the arms of Jesus,” Eugenie Dormevil said. “Will be missed from Eugenie and Oriel.”

“Heartfelt Condolences to the entire family,” Vincent Peters said.

“Deepest condolences to Brother Jonah, Joniah and the rest of the family,” Florita Graham said. “That was shocking news for me. RIP my sister!”

“My deepest condolences to the family,” Suzanna Jean-Marie said. “Our prayers are with the family.”

All individuals listed as arrested or charged with a crime in this report are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.,

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Police Arrest 18-Year-Old, Detain 3 Minors, In Glitters Jewelry Store Robbery: VIPD

CHARLOTTE AMALIE — The VIPD held a joint press conference with the Attorney General’s office today to announce that four teenagers have been detained in connection to the Havensight Mall robbery of a St. Thomas jewelry store 13 days ago.

On December 16, at 8:04 p.m., police arrested Miciah Cozier, age 18 of Estate Mandahl, and detained three 17-year-old male minors, for their involvement in the robbery and shooting at the Glitters jewelry store in Havensight Mall on December 4, the Virgin Islands Police Department said.

Cozier and the minors were charged with Attempted Murder, 1st Degree Assault, 1st Degree Robbery, 2nd Degree Robbery, Kidnapping, 3rd Degree Assault, Mayhem, Unlawful Entry, Carrying a Firearm During a Crime of Violence, 1st Degree Reckless Endangerment, Grand Larceny, Unauthorized Use of a Vehicle, Possession of an Unlicensed Firearm within 1,000 feet of a Public Housing Community, Unlawful Possession of Ammunition, and Conspiracy, the VIPD said.

Bail for Cozier was set at $500,000. Unable to post bail, he was remanded to the custody of the Bureau of Corrections, pending an advice-of-rights hearing. The minors were taken into protective custody by the Juvenile Bureau pending their Advice of Rights hearing before Family Court.

Police Arrest 18-Year-Old, Detain 3 Minors, In Glitters Jewelry Store Robbery: VIPD
Acting Police Commissioner Ray Martinez at the press conference in St. Thomas today.

In a press conference this afternoon announcing the arrests, Police Commissioner Designee Ray Martinez expressed gratitude to local and federal law enforcement officers for the work in the investigation. “Let me take this opportunity to thank the VIPD detectives and officers, Department of Justice Prosecutors and CID Investigators, and our federal partners at the FBI and Homeland Security Investigations for their efforts in leading to these arrests,”

Commissioner Martinez said. He continued,

“I would be remiss if I did not thank the community for the outpouring of information that played a critical role in providing our investigators with much needed leads,” he said. “I look forward to leading the VIPD and fostering continued community collaboration.”

Meanwhile, two people shot during an armed robbery at Havensight Mall on Saturday are out of danger and recuperating, and police are searching for four perpetrators, according to a Virgin Islands Police official.

With a cruise ship at the West Indian Co. dock and hundreds of locals and tourists mingling in the busy shopping area, fear and panic spread quickly at around 10:55 a.m. Saturday as three men armed with handguns and automatic rifles got out of a dark-colored vehicle and stormed Glitter’s Fine Jewelry, Police Commissioner Ray Martinez said.

Police Arrest 18-Year-Old, Detain 3 Minors, In Glitters Jewelry Store Robbery: VIPD
The Glitters Jewelry store armed robbery in progress on December 4

A security guard and a woman, who is believed to be a local resident who was in the store shopping, were shot.

“The female victim was shot in the chest, and the male security guard was shot in the stomach,” Martinez said.

Eyewitnesses reported hearing five gunshots, followed by a burst of automatic fire.

Outside the store, panic ensued, with shoppers taking cover behind cars, under tables and hiding inside stores.

At the nearby Delly Deck restaurant, a woman ran inside imploring diners to “run, they are shooting!”

A tourist who recounted the incident said they were shopping inside Diamonds International when they heard at least five shots and started to run.

After the suspects fled the scene, an employee from a neighboring jewelry store was seen using their t-shirt to put pressure on the security guard’s wounds.

Despite being shot, eyewitnesses said the guard was responsive at the time and asked for the police to be called.

The victims were taken to Schneider Regional Medical Center (SRMC) for treatment.

St. Thomas-St. John Police Chief Barrington Thomas Sr. said on Sunday that each victim remains in stable condition.

Police located the suspects’ getaway vehicle about three-quarters of a mile from the Havensight Mall on Saturday, Thomas said.

Two men were arrested in a separate incident Saturday, in which officers conducted a vehicle stop and found firearms, he said.

It’s unclear whether those individuals and weapons are connected to the Havensight robbery, and “we’re still trying to connect the dots,” Thomas said.

Government House Communications Director Richard Motta said that Governor Albert Bryan had no comment on the shooting.

Police Arrest 18-Year-Old, Detain 3 Minors, In Glitters Jewelry Store Robbery: VIPD
Virgin Islands Attorney General Denise George (right) during today’s joint press conference.
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2 Of 4 Persons Of Interest Arrested For Armed Robbery At Havensight Mall: VIPD

CHARLOTTE AMALIE — Two of four persons of interest have been arrested in connection with the armed robbery of Glitters jewelry store late Saturday morning, authorities said.

The two suspects were taken into custody on 1st Avenue Saturday afternoon, police said.

“A search of the vehicle recovered an [AR-15] assault rifle, a handgun and ammunition,” VIPD Commissioner Ray Martinez said in a video statement. “The individuals that were arrested are persons of interest in this morning’s incident as well as several other violent crime incidents that have occurred over the last month.”

The two people critically injured in the incident at Havensight Mall on Saturday are out of danger and recuperating, and police are searching for four perpetrators, according to a Virgin Islands police official.

With a cruise ship at the West Indian Co. dock and hundreds of locals and tourists mingling in the busy shopping area, fear and panic spread quickly at around 10:55 a.m. Saturday as three men armed with handguns and automatic rifles got out of a dark-colored vehicle and stormed Glitter’s Fine Jewelry, according to Martinez.

A security guard and a woman, who is believed to be a local resident who was in the store shopping, were shot.

“The female victim was shot in the chest, and the male security guard was shot in the stomach,” Martinez said.

Eyewitnesses reported hearing five gunshots, followed by a burst of automatic fire.

Outside the store, panic ensued, with shoppers taking cover behind cars, under tables and hiding inside stores.

At the nearby Delly Deck restaurant, a woman ran inside imploring diners to “run, they are shooting!”

A tourist who recounted the incident said they were shopping inside Diamonds International when they heard at least five shots and started to run.

After the suspects fled the scene, an employee from a neighboring jewelry store was seen using their t-shirt to put pressure on the security guard’s wounds.

Despite being shot, eyewitnesses said the guard was responsive at the time and asked for the police to be called.

The victims were taken to Schneider Regional Medical Center for treatment.

On social media, the reaction to this article was a mixed bag.

“I saw the video today. Only way you could identify them is by maybe the way they walk and ran. The vehicle obviously stolen. There must be better ways to get this done. Giving police more power to do their work without thinking they are going overboard might help,” Ronnie Lockhart said from St. Thomas.

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St. Thomas Man Shot While Driving On Brookman Road This Morning

CHARLOTTE AMALIE — A St. Thomas man was shot while driving along the main road connecting downtown to the main cruise ship port just before midnight.

The 911 Emergency Call Center dispatched officers to Brookman Road at 11:49 p.m. Sunday to investigate an apparent shooting incident, the Virgin Islands Police Department said.

“Security personnel in the area contacted police after discovering evidence of a shooting and blood,” VIPD spokesman Toby Derima said.

At 11:50 p.m. the Emergency Call Center received a call from the Schneider Regional Medical Center reporting a male gunshot victim who came in for treatment, according to the VIPD.

“The victim and a friend, while leaving the area, observed an unknown suspect driving a white vehicle alongside their vehicle when the suspect opened fire,” according to Derima.

The injured man’s condition is not known at present.

Detectives are asking anyone with information about this shooting to call 911, the Criminal Investigation Bureau (340) 774-2211 extension 5610, or Crime Stoppers USVI at (800) 222-TIPS.

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Woman, Man Shot During Botched Robbery Attempt By 3 Men At Havensight Mall

CHARLOTTE AMALIE — A security guard and a civilian were shot during a botched robbery attempt by three armed men at the Havensight Mall late this morning, authorities said.

The three black male suspects were armed with handguns and automatic weapons when they entered Glitters jewelry store at 9002 Havensight Mall about 10:40 a.m. today and engaged in a shootout with the security officer that left the male guard shot in the stomach and a female customer shot in the chest, VIPD Commissioner Roy Martinez said.

The two injured, unnamed people were undergoing surgery at the Schneider Regional Medical Center (SRMC) about 1:45 p.m., according to police.

Woman, Man Shot During Botched Robbery Attempt By 3 Men At Havensight Mall
Photo by Emmet Prevost/AllAhWeTV

After the shooting, the Havensight Mall was closed and the area around Glitters was cordoned off with yellow barricade tape to prevent pedestrian and motoring traffic in the crime scene area.

At least a dozen police units converged on the scene about 10:45 a.m. and were still at the St. Thomas mall hours later. As of around 12:00 p.m., several store patrons and staff were being questioned by authorities.

According to the VIPD, the three male suspects arrived in a dark-colored vehicle and then entered Glitters. Police said they have recovered the getaway vehicle that was used in attempted robbery in the area around Havensight Mall.

Anyone with information about today’s daring broad daylight armed robbery is asked to call 911.

Woman, Man Shot During Botched Robbery Attempt By 3 Men At Havensight Mall
Photo by Emmet Prevost/AllAhWeTV
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5 Men In Cocaine Trafficking Ring Busted At Havensight Mall: USAO

CHARLOTTE AMALIE — Five St. Thomas men were arrested on illegal drug charges at the Havensight Mall on Thursday, authorities said.

Matthew Hazel, Jose Solano, Andrew Wilson, Cesar Thomas, and Lodwin Ashton were each charged with conspiracy to distribute more than 11 pounds of cocaine, U.S. Attorney Gretchen C.F. Shappert said. All five men made their initial appearances in U.S. District Court today, Shappert said.

According to court documents, on October 13, 2021, a Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Confidential Source (CS) met with Jose Solano to discuss the purchase of 25 kilograms of cocaine in St Thomas.

During the meeting, Solano agreed to sell the CS twenty-five kilograms of cocaine for $312,000. Cesar Thomas was also present with Solano during the meeting. Solano agreed to conduct the transaction on the following day.

On October 14, 2021, at approximately, 4:01 p.m., agents and the CS arrived at the Havensight Mall, St. Thomas, which was the agreed-upon location for the CS to meet up with Solano for the 25-kilogram exchange.

At approximately 4:03 p.m., agents observed Solano arrive in a black Toyota Tacoma. Solano parked in the area between the Smoking Rooster and the Post Office, next to where the CS was located. Solano then exited the Tacoma a short time later.

Subsequently, a black Honda Civic, arrived, driven by Cesar Thomas with Andrew Wilson in the front passenger seat. Thomas and Wilson parked in the vicinity of Solano’s vehicle; both exited the vehicle and congregated around both the Honda and the Tacoma for about 45 minutes to an hour.

During that time, federal agents observed Wilson on his phone several times, while pacing through the parking lot. Agents also observed Wilson using hand gestures to direct a dark colored Jeep Wrangler and black G35 Infiniti to his location in the Havensight Mall parking lot.

The two cars—the Jeep, followed by the Infiniti—arrived on scene at approximately 4:44 p.m.. The Jeep, a dark-colored Jeep Wrangler, was driven by Lodwin Ashton.

After Ashton parked the Jeep in the same vicinity as the CS, the Tacoma, and the Honda Civic, agents observed Thomas and Wilson approach the Jeep and talk with Ashton. Moments later, the black G35 Infiniti sedan, which bore no license plate, joined the group. The Infiniti was driven by Matthew Hazel, and Jenel Smith was in the back seat.

Agents observed Thomas and Wilson approach Hazel and converse with him. Moments later, agents observed Hazel exit the G35 Infiniti as the trunk of the vehicle sprung open.

Agents then observed Thomas, Hazel, and the CS at the rear of the G35 looking into the trunk. Moments later, agents observed Hazel close the trunk as the CS gave a signal to the agents, confirming the presence of kilograms of suspected cocaine to be present within the G35 Infinity.

Agents arrested Solano, Thomas, Wilson, Ashton, Hazel, and Smith, who were later transported to the DEA St. Thomas Resident Office for processing.

After the arrest, agents recovered approximately 25 brick-like packages of suspected cocaine from the trunk of the G35 Infinity and one loaded semi-automatic Walther Arms handgun; model PPX; bearing serial number FBB2800, which Hazel was sitting on in the driver’s seat.

Agents also recovered a second loaded semi-automatic handgun from the Jeep Wrangler, which was located
underneath the steering wheel.

This case is being investigated jointly by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Homeland Security Investigation (HSI), Air Marine Operations (AMO), Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and Virgin Islands Police Department (VIPD).

It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Meredith Edwards and Juan Albino.
United States

Attorney Shappert reminds the public that a complaint is merely a formal charging document, and it is not evidence of guilt.

Every defendant is presumed innocent until and unless found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

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St. Thomas Man Wanted In Mall Assault Charged With Attempted Murder: VIPD

CHARLOTTE AMALIE — A St. Thomas man wanted in connection to an alleged assault at a Havensight-area mall is now in official custody, authorities said today.

Jose Neveda Alcala, 27, of Norre Gade, Charlotte Amalie, was arrested at 4:05 p.m. Saturday and charged with first-degree assault, attempted murder, third-degree assault and simple assault-domestic violence, the Virgin Islands Police Department said.

“Nevada Alcala was wanted by police in connection with an incident that occurred on September 6 in the Port of Sale Mall,” VIPD spokesman Toby Derima said.

Bail for Alcala was set at $250,000. Unable to post bail, he was remanded to the Bureau of Corrections pending an advice-of-rights hearing.

Police referred to Alcala as “Jose Alcala Naveda” in a previous Facebook post.

This case is currently under active investigation by the Criminal Investigation Bureau.

Anyone with any information regarding this crime is urged to contact 911, the Criminal Investigation Bureau at (340) 774-2211 extension 5576, or Crime Stoppers USVI at (800) 222-TIPS.

All individuals listed as arrested or charged with a crime in this report are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

Police referred to Alcala as “Jose Alcala Naveda” in a previous Facebook post.

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Police Need Your Help To Find Man Wanted For Assault At Port Of Sale Mall

CHARLOTTE AMALIE — Police need your help tonight to find a St. Thomas man wanted for an assault at a Havensight mall earlier this week.

Jose Alcala Naveda, who is wanted on charges of first-degree assault; third-degree assault; and simple assault- domestic violence, the Virgin Islands Police Department said.

Police said the domestic violence assault took place on Monday in the Port of Sale Mall.

Acala Naveda is an Hispanic male who stands 5-feet, 9-inches tall and weighs about 140 pounds. He is also known by the nicknames “Dinoro” or “Dinorio.”

If you have seen Jose Alcala Naveda, or if you know his whereabouts, please contact police by calling 911, the Criminal Investigation Bureau at (340) 774-2211 extension 5576, or Crime Stoppers USVI at (800) 222-8477.