NEWARK – FBI special agents and Union Police Department detectives arrested four New Jersey men Wednesday morning in connection with the armed robber of a Target Store in Union Township on “Black Friday” last November, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.
Darrell A. Carter, 23, of Irvington, Daquaan Vaughn, 35, of Newark, Lavell Jones, 27, of East Orange, and Maryland Liggins, III, 28, of Newark, are charged with one count of committing a Hobbs Act robbery. Carter and Vaughn are each charged with an additional count of using a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence.
The Hobbs Act is a 1946 federal law that prohibits actual or attempted robbery or extortion affecting interstate or foreign commerce “in any way or degree.”
All four defendants were scheduled to appear Wednesday afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael Hammer in Newark federal court.
According to the complaint unsealed on June 19:
On Nov. 23, 2012, Carter, Vaughn, Jones and Liggins allegedly carried out an armed robbery of the Target store located on Springfield Avenue in Union on Black Friday – the day after Thanksgiving – which is considered to be one of the busiest shopping days of the year. The defendants each allegedly played different roles in the robbery: Carter and Vaughn entered the store and robbed the store’s employees at gunpoint; Liggins served as the getaway driver; and Jones posed as a shopper in the store and acted as a lookout.
Carter and Vaughn entered the store at 9:47 p.m. and hid in an employee bathroom. An employee eventually attempted to enter the bathroom and Carter and Vaughn allegedly grabbed the employee, brandishing handguns. Carter and Vaughn are accused of restraining the employee’s hands with zip-ties and demanding the security code to access the store’s cash room.
Carter and Vaughn allegedly obtained the code from the employee and used it to access a secure hallway that leads to the cash room, where they waited for employees to transport a cash cart from the store’s cash registers to the cash room when the store closed. Carter and Vaughn then allegedly rushed into the cash room brandishing guns, ordered the employees to lie on the ground, and stole more than $50,000 from a safe in the cash room before exiting the store and running out to a vehicle driven by Liggins that was parked on the shoulder of nearby Route 78.
The charge of Hobbs Act robbery is punishable by a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison. The charge of using a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence carries a maximum potential penalty of life in prison and a mandatory minimum sentence of seven years, which must run consecutively to any other prison term. Each of these counts also carries a maximum fine of $250,000.
Fishman praised special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Aaron T. Ford, with the investigation leading to the arrest and charges. He also thanked the Union Police Department for its role in the investigation and Target corporate security for its cooperation.
The charges and allegations contained in the indictment are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
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