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Two Men Arrested For Committing Armed Robbery Of Bronx Jewelry Store Using Bear Spray, A Gun, And Hammers

Damian Williams, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Michael J. Driscoll, Assistant Director in Charge of the New York Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”), and Keechant L. Sewell, Police Commissioner for the City of New York (“NYPD”), announced the unsealing of a three-count Complaint today charging two members of an armed robbery crew operating in the Bronx, New York, with robbery, conspiracy to commit robbery, and brandishing a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence.  Specifically, PABLO ARMANDO VALENZUELA and AARON MILLER stole more than $800,000 worth of jewelry while armed with a firearm, bear spray, and hammers.  MILLER was arrested yesterday, and VALENZUELA was arrested today and will be presented before Magistrate Judge Sarah L. Cave.

U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said: “As alleged, the defendants and their co-conspirators committed a violent robbery using any weapons they could get their hands on that left employees of a Bronx jewelry store injured and their store destroyed.  This Office will continue to aggressively prosecute robberies, especially those that are accompanied with violence.”

FBI Assistant Director in Charge Michael J. Driscoll said: “We allege Valenzuela and Miller carried out a robbery at a jewelry store, stole more than $800,000 in merchandise, violently trashed the business, and injured employees by using bear spray.  Smash and grab robberies have become more brazen, and the criminals responsible must be held responsible.  This investigation should serve as a warning to anyone contemplating a similar crime – you will face justice in the federal system for breaking the law.”

NYPD Police Commissioner Keechant L. Sewell said: “This violence will never be tolerated in our city.  And actions must have consequences.  Today’s charges reflect our commitment to safeguarding the people and businesses of New York City, and our relentless pursuit of anyone who would seek to do them harm.  I want to thank the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, the New York Office of the FBI, and every investigator who worked on this important case.”

According to the allegations contained in the Complaint:[1]

On August 10, 2022, VALENZUELA and MILLER, along with at least four other co-conspirators, committed an armed robbery of a jewelry store in the Bronx, New York, using a firearm, bear spray, and hammers.  On the evening of August 10, VALENZUELA entered the jewelry store wearing a ski mask and sprayed a can of bear spray into the eyes of jewelry store employees, temporarily blinding them.  Five other masked robbers entered the jewelry store, including MILLER, and used hammers to destroy glass display cases.  At least one robber brandished a firearm.  VALENZUELA, MILLER, and the other robbers then stole over $800,000 worth of jewelry before fleeing on mopeds, in cars, and by foot.  

Photographs of VALENZUELA (Photographs 1 and 2) and MILLER (Photograph 3) are below:

 

 

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VALENZUELA, 32, and MILLER, 23, both of the Bronx, New York, are charged with one count of Hobbs Act robbery and one count of conspiracy to commit Hobbs Act robbery, both of which carry a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, and one count of brandishing a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence, which carries a maximum sentence of life in prison and a mandatory minimum term of seven years in prison, which must be served consecutively to any other prison term imposed. 

The minimum and maximum potential sentences in this case are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendants will be determined by a judge.

Mr. Williams praised the outstanding investigative work of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, particularly the Albany FBI – Binghamton Resident Agency, the U.S. Marshals Service New York/New Jersey Regional Task Force, and the New York City Police Department.

This case is being handled by the Office’s General Crimes Unit.  Assistant U. S. Attorney Amanda C. Weingarten is in charge of the prosecution.

The charges contained in the Complaint are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

 


[1] As the introductory phrase signifies, the entirety of the text of the Complaint, and the description of the Complaint set forth herein, constitute only allegations, and every fact described herein should be treated as an allegation.

Source: USDOJ