Police have charged four men in connection to a string of brazen lunchtime smash-and-grab robberies of high-end jewelry stores from New York to Virginia, which included the heist of Rolex watches from Martin's Jewelers on North Avenue last month.
On Jan. 9 three men entered the shop and smashed a display case to grab two watches. One man fled the shop through the front door and was quickly apprehended by Cranford Police Ptl. Timothy O’Brien. The two others slipped through the back to a waiting silver BMW.
Working with Westfield Police, Detectives Ryan Greco and John Swandrak were able to further identify the car. This information turned out to be important information for the New York Police Dept, and the FBI, who used it to connect the suspects to violent robberies at Cartier in Manhattan, the Borgata in Atlantic City, and at a shop in Richmond, Virginia.
The men arrested in connection to the Cranford robbery are Tyrone Dehoyos, 35, of Queens who was stopped by Cranford Police; Roberto Grant, 33 and Allen Williams, 35, of Brooklyn. The fourth man, Terrell Ratcliffe, 22, is accused of participating in the other jewelry thefts. The charge of robbery in interstate commerce carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.
The charges were announced by Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, George Venizelos, the Assistant Director-in-Charge of the New York Office of the FBI, and William Bratton, the Police Commissioner of the City of New York.
Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said: “As alleged, the defendants engaged in violent robberies of luxury jewelry stores in New York, New Jersey, and Virginia. They allegedly combined forethought with force, scouting out their targets and then terrorizing customers and employees by smashing display cases with hammers and stealing high-end timepieces. They will now face the consequences of their violent shopping spree.”