A nine-month robbery spree targeted Southern California stores that sell high-end watches
Four more men have been arrested in connection with a series of smash-and-grab robberies at Southern Calfornia jewelry stores that sold Rolex and other high-end watches.
Nine men have been indicted for the robbery spree. According to a Department of Justice statement, six of them allegedly planned and organized the robberies, while three of them allegedly participated in one or more thefts. In addition to the four arrested defendants, three more are already in custody, and authorities are searching for the other two.
The men are charged with selecting jewelry stores based on their watch inventory, looking for Rolex, Audemars Piguet, and TAG Heuer in particular. The organizers allegedly recruited financially desperate young men to perform the robberies, promising them large sums of money if they were successful. However, despite nabbing $6 million in watches and jewelry in their nine-month robbery spree, the men who committed the robberies often received far less than promised.
“The indictment and arrests today demonstrate that ringleaders cannot escape prosecution by sending lower-level participants in to commit the crimes on their behalf,” said United States Attorney Eileen M. Decker in a statement.
The indictment charges all nine defendants with violating the Hobbs Act by conspiring to interfere with commerce by robbery, for 10 robberies that occurred between early August 2015 and April 2016. In the worst heist, one of the robbers fired a shot at a store guard.