4 charged in St. Thomas jewelry store robbery face federal charges

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ST. THOMAS - Four of the six men accused of robbing a jewelry store on March 22 now are facing federal charges.

Shaquim Fredericks, 19; Warkim J. Gabriel, 18; Chefton Newton, 25; and Alvin Thomas, 18, appeared in District Court on Friday morning before Magistrate Judge Ruth Miller.

In addition to facing local charges of first-degree robbery; unauthorized possession of a firearm; aiding and abetting; possession of stolen property; first-degree assault; and unlawful discharge of a firearm, the co-defendants now are accused of violating the Hobbs Act, which is a federal crime.

The Hobbs Act involves the delay or obstruction of commerce or the movement of a commodity by robbery and typically is applied to bank robberies.

Bail previously was set in the amount of $100,000 for each of defendants, though Miller said that the court would re-address bail in a later hearing.

The defendants were remanded to the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service.

It is unclear whether two other defendants in the case, both age 17, also will be charged with the new federal count.

V.I. Police have not reported finding a seventh gunman believed to be involved in the incident.

All six defendants were arrested shortly after the robbery occurred during the morning of March 22.

V.I. Police received a call just before 9:50 a.m. reporting that more than five gunmen had stormed into Imperial Jewelry Store on Main Street on St. Thomas and robbed the business of an undetermined amount of gold and other jewelry, according to V.I. Police spokeswoman Melody Rames.

As the gunmen left the area on foot, Rames said they were pursued by police who were already on routine patrol in the area because there was a cruise ship in port.

The men fled up an alley, running toward Catherineberg and into a bushy area of Fire Burn Hill, where they were quickly surrounded by officers, Rames said. At least one of the suspects fired at least one shot at officers, she said.

Police recovered several firearms and a bag of jewelry in the area where the men were captured.

Anyone with additional information about the robbery or any other persons involved can call 911 or the confidential tip line at Crime Stopper USVI at 1-800-222-8477.

- Contact Jenny Kane at 714-9102 or email jkane@dailynews.vi.

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