FBI: Suspects in multistate crime bust linked to 3 robberies in New Jersey
More than a dozen people arrested in a multistate crime spree are allegedly connected to three robberies in New Jersey.
Federal authorities have charged 16 people in connection with a violent crime ring. Some of the charges are related to a string of armed robberies and carjackings along the East Coast.
“Nine armed robberies of jewelry stores in four different states in roughly a one-year time frame,” says United States Attorney Matt Graves.
Officials say that between January 2022 and January 2023, a group of suspects between the ages of 21 and 32 carried out targeted robberies, including at small businesses like Virani Jewelers in Iselin.
“Many of the victim businesses are family-owned and operated and they lost large sums of inventory, some more than $1 million,” says FBI Agent-In-Charge Jim Dennehy.
Virani Jewelers employees were shocked last June when a group of armed and masked men entered the shop, taking large amounts of inventory before fleeing the scene.
“These were take-over style armed robberies meant to terrify and overwhelm store owners and employees,” Dennehy says.
Graves says these arrests were part of a widespread crackdown involving local and federal agencies to catch repeat offenders.
“In our experience, it is uncommon for a defendant to commit just one robbery or one carjacking and never commit this type of offense again - absent some type of arrest or law enforcement intervention,” he says.
The owner of Virani Jewelers tells News 12 New Jersey that these arrests come as a relief.
Federal agents say they also recovered seven firearms and $300,000 in Wednesday morning’s arrests. Officials say those defendants could face lengthy federal sentences if convicted.