Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that LEON FENNER pled guilty yesterday to the armed robbery of a store in the Diamond District of Manhattan on November 11, 2014. FENNER pled guilty before United States District Judge William H. Pauley III.
According to the allegations contained in court documents previously filed in federal court, and statements made in Court during the plea of FENNER:
On November 11, 2014, FENNER carried out an armed commercial robbery of a jewelry store (the “Store”) on the 8th floor of a building on 47th Street in the Diamond District of Manhattan. The Store is not open to the public but is a space where clients can view and purchase jewelry. At the time of the robbery, the owner of the store (the “Owner”) and three other individuals were present inside the Store. At approximately 2:20 in the afternoon – in broad daylight as the Veteran’s Day Parade proceeded nearby – LEON FENNER, the defendant, dressed in a suit, carrying a bag, and appearing to be a messenger, came to the door of the Store. After entering, FENNER first said that he was there to serve the Owner of the Store with papers, and took two envelopes out of his bag before placing them on a desk. FENNER then took out a weapon that appeared to be a gun and pointed it at the Owner and the others present and demanded that they give him all the jewelry in the Store. As the robbery was occurring, a relative of the Owner arrived and was let into the Store. FENNER hit the Owner’s relative, using the weapon, as he entered the Store. The Owner and the others present in the Store emptied more than $600,000 worth of jewelry from a safe and other locations and placed it into FENNER’s bag, before he left the scene.
FENNER was identified based on fingerprint analysis of the envelopes left in the store and surveillance images.
FENNER, 58, of New York, New York, pled guilty to one count of Hobbs Act robbery, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. The statutory maximum sentences are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendant would be determined by the judge.
FENNER is scheduled to be sentenced October 16, 2015, before Judge Pauley.
Mr. Bharara praised the investigative work of the New York City Police Department (“NYPD”) and the Joint Robbery Task Force, consisting of members of the NYPD, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and the United States Marshals Service.
This case is being handled by the Office’s Violent and Organized Crime Unit. Assistant United States Attorneys Russell Capone and Gina Castellano are in charge of the prosecution.