NEWARK, N.J. – A Newark man will appear in federal court today to face charges for his alleged involvement in the September 2017 armed robbery of a jewelry exchange located in Elizabeth, New Jersey, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced.
William Valentin, 42, is charged by complaint with one count of conspiring to commit Hobbs Act robberies, one count of Hobbs Act robbery, one count of brandishing a firearm during a crime of violence, and one count of conspiring to use a firearm during a crime of violence. Valentin was scheduled to make his initial appearance today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Mark Falk in Newark federal court.
According to the complaint:
On the morning of Sept. 5, 2017, four masked individuals, including Valentin, entered a jewelry exchange located in Elizabeth. Valentin then brandished a firearm at an employee while the other conspirators unloaded the contents of the store’s safes into large bags. Video surveillance showed Valentin and other conspirators entering the mall, approaching the jewelry exchange, and running out with the bags of jewelry. Afterwards, Valentin and his conspirators jumped into a black Audi and drove away.
In January 2018, Valentin was arrested in Holyoke, Massachusetts, with a backpack containing jewelry stolen from the Elizabeth exchange in his possession.
The count of brandishing a firearm during a crime of violence carries a mandatory minimum sentence of seven years in prison, which must be imposed consecutive to any other sentence imposed. The Hobbs Act, Hobbs Act conspiracy, and conspiracy to use a firearm in the commission of a crime of violence charges each carry a statutory maximum of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, or twice the gain or loss from the offense.
The charges and allegations in the complaint are merely accusations, and Valentin is considered innocent unless and until proven guilty.
U.S. Attorney Carpenito credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Gregory W. Ehrie in Newark, the Elizabeth Police Department, under the direction of Chief Ronald Simon, and the Union County Prosecutor’s Office, under the direction of Acting Prosecutor Michael A. Monahan, with the investigation leading to today’s charges. He also thanked the Holyoke Police Department, under the direction of Chief James Neiswanger, for its assistance.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Lauren E. Repole of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Public Protection Unit in Newark.