FBI: Suspects in multistate crime bust linked to 3 robberies in New Jersey

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.

Isabel Litterst and Matt Trapani

Aug 31, 2023, 12:27 AM

Updated 326 days ago

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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.


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