Trio charged with hammer robberies at 6 cell phone stores in 1 day – CBS Los Angeles

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – Three men have been indicted by a federal grand jury in the hammerhead robberies of half a dozen cell phone stores in Los Angeles and Ventura counties, and have been linked to no less than 50 similar robberies in the region.

Tony Tyron Lee Stewart, 21, of Highland; Rayford Newsome, 23, of Compton; and Jerome Gregory Belser, 20, of San Bernardino, are in federal custody and are scheduled to be arraigned Feb. 10. The trio have been accused of stealing $33,795 in merchandise and have been linked to more than 50 cell phone store robberies throughout Southern California.

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According to the federal indictment, Newsom drove Stewart and Belser in a blue Kia Optima vehicle on January 15 to rob T-Mobile stores in Long Beach, Carson, Inglewood, Encino and Camarillo, and an AT&T Wireless store in Woodland. Hills. Prosecutors say Stewart and Belser used sledgehammers to smash storefronts and phone screens to steal iPhones and other electronics from each of the stores, while Newsome was the getaway driver.

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According to an affidavit filed with the criminal complaint in that case, GPS location data from the phones of Stewart and Newsome, and the blue Kia Optima, showed that the phones and the vehicle were in the area of ​​the thefts when they are produced. Later that night, investigators used GPS data from the vehicle to track him to North Hollywood, according to federal prosecutors.

The trio were found in the car after a short chase, along with devices from the Encino store and hammers with distinctive handle coloring resembling those used in that robbery.

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The three men were each charged with one count of conspiracy and six counts each of interfering with commerce by robbery.

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