NEWARK – FBI special agents arrested two men in Brooklyn, N.Y., this morning in connection with armed robberies of T-Mobile stores in Paramus and Woodbridge, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.
Unique Randolph, 26, and Sulayman Graham, 30, both of Brooklyn, are charged in separate criminal complaints with one count each of committing a Hobbs Act robbery. Randolph is also charged with one count of using a firearm in furtherance of that robbery. Both defendants are scheduled to appear today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael A. Hammer in Newark federal court.
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.”
According to the two criminal complaints unsealed today and other documents filed in connection with this case:
The FBI has been investigating a series of armed robberies in Bergen, Middlesex and Union Counties, as well as other locations, between May 2012 and January 2013 – including armed robberies of T-Mobile stores in Linden, Woodbridge and Paramus. Four other N.Y. men – Terrell McQueen, Leonard Arrington, Carl Williams and Eric Williams (no relation) – were previously arrested and indicted in connection with this investigation. The charges against those four defendants remain pending.
On Jan. 16, 2013, Randolph and another man entered the T-Mobile store in Paramus. After allegedly tying up two employees and a customer and forcing them to lie on the floor, the men are accused of forcing a third employee, at gunpoint, to fill two laundry bags with more than 70 cell phones. Afterward, the men allegedly left the employee tied up on the floor with the others.
During the robbery, a UPS employee walked into the store and was forced at gunpoint to join the restrained group.
On Oct. 2, 2012, Arrington allegedly entered a T-Mobile store in Woodbridge, carrying a gun, along with another man. After locking the front door, the men allegedly took the employees to the back of the store and tied them up, then stole approximately 40 cell phones. One of the robbers then called the alleged getaway driver, Graham, who drove them away in a Land Rover. McQueen, Eric Williams and others allegedly delivered the stolen phones to the same Brooklyn store.
The charges of Hobbs Act robbery carry a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison. The charge of use of 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 one another and to any other prison term. Each of the 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 Linden and Woodbridge Police Departments in New Jersey, as well as the New York City and Nassau County Police Departments and the Kings County District Attorney’s Office in New York for their excellent work in this case.
The charges and allegations contained in the complaints and indictment are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
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