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  • NYPD Officer and Three Others Indicted in Perfume Warehouse Robbery Scheme

    A federal grand jury Indictment unsealed today charges New York Police Department Officer Kelvin L. Jones and three co-conspirators for their involvement in the robbery of a Carlstadt warehouse where more than $500,000 in perfume was stolen while 11 employees were held hostage, United States Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.

    Two of the charged defendants, Danny Bannout and Luis Reyes, were arrested this morning by agents of the FBI and are expected to appear this afternoon before United States Magistrate Judge Claire C. Cecchi in Newark federal court.

    In the seven-count superseding Indictment, Jones, a/k/a “Mike Smith,” 28, of Yonkers, New York; Danny Bannout, a/k/a “D,” 34, of Brooklyn, New York; Anselmo Jimenes, a/k/a “Ansemo Jimenes,” 30, of Brooklyn, New York; and Reyes, 28, of New York, New York, are charged with conspiring to obstruct interstate commerce by armed robbery and obstructing interstate commerce in connection with the robbery of hundreds of boxes of perfumes and fragrances from a warehouse in Carlstadt, New Jersey used by In Style USA, Inc. Each defendant also is charged with conspiring to transport the perfume in interstate commerce from New Jersey to New York.

    On March 5, 2010, Jimenes was arrested and charged by Complaint along with NYPD Officers Brian Checo and Richard LeBlanca, former NYPD Officer Orlando Garcia, Gabriel Vargas, Alan Bannout and Luis R. Morales. Jones was charged on March 5 in a separate Complaint as part of the continuing investigation by federal authorities into the heist.

    A grand jury previously indicted Jimenes on May 25, 2010. The return of this superseding Indictment adds Jones, Danny Bannout, and Reyes as co-conspirators to the Carlstadt robbery. It also adds Danny Bannout as a co-conspirator in another alleged heist, in which he and Jimenes are charged with conspiring to transport stolen goods, and the transportation of such stolen goods, from a storage facility in North Brunswick to a storage facility in New York.

    Jones also is charged with possession of a firearm during his commission of the In Style robbery, as well as attempting to tamper with a witness after his arrest.

    According to the superseding Indictment and other documents filed in this case:

    As early as December 2009, Jones, Danny Bannout, Reyes, and Jimenes planned the robbery of the Carlstadt facility which included, among other things, surveillance of the site prior to the commission of the robbery and the rental of trucks from two rental facilities to be used to transport the stolen merchandise. On February 9, 2010, Jones, Reyes and other co-conspirators entered the Carlstadt facility, some with firearms, and forcibly restrained 11 In-Style employees’ hands behind their backs with plastic ties. While the employees were held hostage by Jones, Reyes and others, Jimenes and other co-conspirators loaded rental trucks with the stolen merchandise, which was ultimately driven from New Jersey and unloaded into storage facilities in New York.

    While detained in the Hudson County Correctional Facility in Kearny, New Jersey, Jones attempted to tamper with a witness by passing a note to LeBlanca instructing him to make up a false story in an effort to exculpate Jones from involvement in the robbery.

    The superseding Indictment also charges a separate theft of goods in which Danny Bannout and Jimenes, along with Alan Bannout and Vargas, allegedly burglarized a storage facility in North Brunswick. The storage facility was accessed by Danny Bannout and Jimenes after Jimenes cut the lock, and the stolen goods were then transported in a rental truck from North Brunswick to a storage facility in New York.

    The defendants face a maximum potential penalty per count as outlined in the following chart:

    1 – Conspiracy to Obstruct Interstate Commerce by Armed Robbery Jones, Danny Bannout, Jimenes, Reyes 20 years in prison; $250,000 fine
    2 – Obstruction of Interstate Commerce by Armed Robbery Jones, Danny Bannout, Jimenes, Reyes 20 years in prison; $250,000 fine
    3 – Possession of a Firearm in Furtherance of a Crime of Violence Jones Five years in prison
    4 – Conspiracy to Transport Stolen Goods in Interstate Commerce Jones, Danny Bannout, Jimenes, Reyes Five years in prison; $250,000 fine
    5 – Attempted Witness Tampering Jones 20 years in prison; $250,000 fine
    6 – Conspiracy to Transport Stolen Goods in Interstate Commerce Danny Bannout, Jimenes 10 years in prison; $250,000 fine
    7 – Transportation of Stolen Goods in Interstate Commerce Danny Bannout, Jimenes Five years in prison; $250,000 fine

    The superseding Indictment also contains forfeiture counts in which the government seeks return of the merchandise stolen by the defendants from In-Style USA, the North Brunswick facility, and proceeds from the offenses.

    In determining the actual sentence, United States Senior District Judge William H. Walls will consult the advisory United States Sentencing Guidelines, which provide appropriate sentencing ranges that take into account the severity and characteristics of the offense, the defendants’ criminal history, if any, and other factors. The Judge, however, is not bound by those guidelines in determining a sentence. Parole has been abolished in the federal system. Defendants who are given custodial terms must serve nearly all that time.

    U.S. Attorney Fishman credited Special Agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Michael B. Ward, with the investigation leading to these charges. Fishman also thanked the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office, under the direction of John L. Molinelli, as well as the Carlstadt and North Brunswick Police Departments and the NYPD Internal Affairs Bureau, for their assistance in the investigation. Fishman said the investigation into these heists is continuing.

    The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Christopher J. Gramiccioni and Eric T. Kanefsky of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Special Prosecutions Division in Newark.

    10-184 ###

    Defense counsel:

    Kelvin L. Jones: Michael A. Orozco, Esq, Newark, N.J. Danny Bannout: Harry C. Batchelder, Jr., Esq., New York, N.Y. Anselmo Jimenes: Edward Sapone, Esq., New York, N.Y. Luis Reyes: Chester Keller, Federal Public Defender, Newark, N.J.
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