Man arrested in connection to Kmart robbery faces new federal charges


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ST. THOMAS - The man accused of shooting two security guards in an attempt to rob the Kmart in Lockhart Gardens of $33,550 is now facing charges in federal court.

Richard Antonio Hodge Jr. appeared in court Monday morning to face new charges in connection with the Dec. 3 robbery that left two security guards shot, one critically at the time.

The money from the robbery still has not been found, according to court documents.

"That case is still under active investigation," V.I. Police spokeswoman Melody Rames said Monday.

The cash mysteriously disappeared somewhere between Kmart and the Oswald Harris Court housing community across the street on the day of the incident. It had been in a large, heavy black money bag, initially carried by one of the two security guards from Ranger American Armored Services.

Hodge, who was arrested within an hour of the incident, initially faced related charges in V.I. Superior Court.

He now faces one count of interfering with commerce by robbery; three counts of using and discharging a firearm during the commission of a crime of violence; two counts of attempted first-degree murder; two counts of using an unlicensed firearm during the commission of a crime of violence; three counts of first-degree assault; one count of first-degree robbery; and one count of fire-degree reckless endangerment.

Hodge is accused of shooting the two security guards in front of Furniture Inn in Lockhart Gardens shopping center and then fleeing with the money bag across Centerline Road and into the housing community.

While the critically wounded guard had to wait for emergency responders, the other guard, despite being shot through both legs, pursued the robber - who police now believe to have been Hodge - with the help of an off-duty police officer.

However, both the guard and the officer lost sight of the robber, and it has not been reported whether the robber still had the money when he eluded those chasing him.

When V.I. police surrounded Hodge where he was hiding in a ditch, the money was nowhere to be found.

Hodge is being detained at the V.I. Bureau of Corrections on bail of $200,000, which he must pay in full or provide property of an equal value.

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

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