A second man charged federally in connection with a spate of smash-and-grab robberies at upscale shops in the Washington area admitted in an Alexandria court Thursday that he and others targeted stores as far away as Richmond and Pennsylvania, and law enforcement officials will have to spend months sorting out exactly how much loot they took.
While pleading guilty to a federal robbery charge and
a robbery-conspiracy charge, Walter Douglas, 34, of the District
admitted that he was an organizer of the group, sometimes serving as a
getaway driver and other times going into the stores himself. He
acknowledged that the group, which included at least four others, took
somewhere between $800,000 and $1.5 million in high-end jewelry, watches
and handbags from the likes of the Tourneau and Michael Kors stores as
well as Saks Fifth Avenue from April 2012 to April 2013.
man, 43-year-old Floyd Davis, also of the District, has pleaded guilty
in connection with the robberies, which made news across the region
because of where they happened and how they were executed. The group
often struck during the daytime at some of the areas most upscale shops,
shattering display cases in front of employees and customers.
plea, though, revealed for the first time the broad geographic scope of
the operation. In response to questions from U.S. District Court Judge
Leonie M. Brinkema, Douglas, holding one hand behind his back,
acknowledged that a Saks Fifth Avenue in Richmond and Nordstrom at King
of Prussia Mall in Pennsylvania were among the stores the group hit.
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Douglas admitted to being involved in robberies at the Michael Kors
store at the Tysons II Galleria, the Chanel boutique at the Gallerias
Neiman Marcus store and Belle-view Jewelers on Belle View Boulevard near
Richmond Highway in Alexandria, among others.He acknowledged smashing
the glass case at the Tourneau store at the Fashion Centre at Pentagon
City on March 19 and taking more than $503,000 in jewelry.
he admitted to serving as the getaway driver for the robbery of the
Cartier store on Wisconsin Avenue in Chevy Chase a particularly notable
role, given that a D.C. police officer who spotted the getaway car
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first piece of jewelry that Ms. Syjuco ever made is on display at the
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which National Artist for Sculpture Napoleon Abueva also attended. He
was the one who urged her to create a jewelry collection, she said.
and other crystals make up Ramon Orlinas jewelry. My jewelry is just
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The gems have been banned from
entering the United States since the Tom Lantos Block Burmese JADE Act
passed in 2008. Some had thought the embargo might be lifted, given
signs of greater democracy and human rights in Myanmar. And in November,
the president waived most of the sanctions included in a previous
import ban, while keeping the blockade on rubies and gems.
import ban was set to expire this summer, which means that the gem ban
would have expired as well, Quigley says. But a statement from deputy
national security adviser for strategic communications Ben Rhodes noted
that the administration did not want to lift the ruby and jade sactions
just yet,Weymouth is collecting gently used, dry cleaned jewelryfindings at their Weymouth store. as it still had concerns about labor and human rights in the gem sector.
administration is maintaining restrictions on specific activities and
actors that contribute to human rights abuses or undermine Burmas
democratic reform process, the statement said.
Quigley says her
organization and others support keeping the ban, adding "there really
wasn't much opposition in Washington" to extending it. As for what will
happen when the ban comes up for renewal again next year, Quigley says
"it's too early to tell."
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