Convicted robbers could face up to 30 years in prison

Two Los Angeles men have been convicted of stealing $1.3 million in jewelry from a Newport Beach store in 2004, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Dominick Edwards, 34, and Kenney Dwayne Watkins, 28, were found guilty Monday of robbing Jewels by Joseph in October 2004, the newspaper reports. The jury also convicted Watkins of attempted carjacking, possession of a handgun and gang charges. Trial is pending for a third man, Herbert Nelson Kirkwood, 33, of Los Angeles.

Watkins, a member of a Los Angeles gang, and Edwards are scheduled to receive their sentences on July 28. Each could face 20 to 30 years in prison because of prior felony convictions.

Police reportedly had speculated that the thieves were attracted to the store in the Corona del Mar Plaza shopping center by news reports that the American Star, a diamond valued at $2.3 million, had been on display, but were unable to confirm it. The diamond had been removed from the store four days before the heist.

The newspaper reports that Watkins pulled a gun when he entered the store and tied up the owner and an employee in a back room, said Deputy Dist. Atty. Scott Zidbeck. Kirkwood came in later, according to authorities.

Police surrounded the store after the owner tripped a silent alarm. Kirkwood and Edwards were arrested as they ran out a back door, Zidbeck reportedly said.

Watkins ran into a gelato store next door, pulled a gun and demanded the keys to a car from a store employee, the newspaper reports. He surrendered after injuring his leg while trying to escape through the ceiling ventilation ducts.

Loose gems and jewelry that had been stuffed into two bags were recovered, the newspaper.

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