Suspects in jewelry heist offer different stories
Published: August 2, 2012
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ST. CROIX - Two men apprehended minutes after police said they robbed a Christiansted jewelry store at gunpoint, were advised of their rights on myriad charges Wednesday morning in Superior Court.
Tyrrell Harris, 18 and Kareem Murrell, 19, and two 17-year-old boys were taken into custody just before 6 p.m. Tuesday. Under local law the names of minors can not be made public unless a determination is made that they will be bound over to adult court to face the charges.
Harris and Murrell both appeared before Magistrate Judge Miguel Camacho on Wednesday morning and were advised of their rights on charges of first-degree robbery; third-degree assault; carrying or using a dangerous weapon during the commission of a violent crime; unlawful possession of a firearm; brandishing a deadly weapon; discharging or aiming a firearm; possession of ammunition; failure to report a firearm brought into the territory; grand larceny; and possession of stolen property.
Camacho advised both men, that if they are tried and convicted on the charges against them they each could face up to 80 years in prison.
The charges stem from the armed robbery at Tropical Bracelet Company just before noon Tuesday.
Emergency dispatchers received a call at 11:44 a.m. reporting the robbery at the jewelry store located on the corner of Queen Cross Street and Stand Street in Christiansted, according to police.
According to the police report, the owner of the business told police that he was in a back room when he heard loud deep voices in the store. He said he came out and saw a man putting jewelry into a bag, so he yelled at the man. The business owner said he then saw a second man pointing a silver gun at him, and the business owner ducked into the back room for cover. The owner said that when he looked out again, he saw the men running from the store and he followed them, while yelling out to people in the area to call police, according to the police report.
The business owner said he saw the men jump into a pick-up truck near the government parking lot, and he recorded the license plate number of the truck, according to police.
Based on the description the man gave police, they were able to broadcast the information to other law enforcement officers, and shortly after that one officer, traveling near Golden Rock, spotted the men and followed them, while radioing for backup, according to police.
Police closed in on the truck at the bottom of Morning Star Hill, where a roadblock was set up, police said. Murrell, who was driving, tried to drive through the roadblock and was forced off the road by police, hitting another vehicle before coming to rest off the shoulder near Country Day School Entrance, police said.
Police reported finding two guns and jewelry, a ski mask, gloves and ammunition.
According to court document, when the men were interviewed, Murrell told police that he had picked up his friend, and they were on their way to Altona Lagoon to go to the beach, when his friend told him that they were going to meet two additional people near the boardwalk in Christiansted. Murrell said he waited for them until they arrived, and after the two individuals got in the truck, it was then that he saw two guns and realized that they had committed a robbery, according to police.
According to police, Harris contradicted Murrell's statement, admitting that he and the three other individuals apprehended in the truck had met in Whim to plan the robbery. Harris also admitted to being the robber who had the silver handgun inside the store, according to police.
Camacho set bail at $75,000 for each of the men and granted a defense motion that allowed both of them to post 20 percent of the bail - $15,000 in cash - be released to a third-party custodian and placed on an electronic monitoring device on a 24-hour curfew while the case is pending.
The men are scheduled to be arraigned Aug. 15.
- Contact Fiona Stokes at 714-9149 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.