On March 15, 2019, four Broward County, Florida residents were convicted by a federal jury for their participation in a string of armed robberies using firearms. One defendant was also convicted of kidnapping four victims.
Ariana Fajardo Orshan, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, George L. Piro, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Miami Field Office and Ari C. Shapira, Special Agent in Charge, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), Miami Field Office, made the announcement.
Following a four-week trial, all four defendants were convicted. Jerome Simmons, 31, of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, was convicted of two counts of Hobbs Act robbery, two counts of brandishing a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence, and one count of conspiracy to commit Hobbs Act robbery. Adrian Hardy, 34, of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, was convicted of one count of Hobbs Act robbery, two counts of brandishing a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence, one count of conspiracy to commit Hobbs Act robbery, and four counts of kidnapping. Christopher Brinson, 33, of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, was convicted of two counts of Hobbs Act robbery, one count of brandishing a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence, and one count of conspiracy to commit Hobbs Act robbery. Emmory Moore, 34, of Coral Springs, Florida, was convicted of one count of Hobbs Act robbery, one count of brandishing a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence, and one count of conspiracy to commit Hobbs Act robbery.
According to the court record, including evidence introduced at trial, on March 3, 2017, Christopher Brinson entered Class Jewelers in Deerfield Beach, Florida and engaged one of the employee’s in conversation. Approximately, ten minutes later, Moore and Simmons entered the store, dressed in wigs, makeup and women’s clothing. They held the two employees at gunpoint and demanded they open the safe. Moore and Simmons stole jewelry and other items from the store then left in a waiting vehicle.
On March 15, 2017, historical cell site information showed that cell phones owned by Simmons, Hardy, Brinson, and Moore traveled to Spring Hill, Florida. On March 6, 2017, two men dressed as women entered Lily’s Jewelry in Spring Hill and held the owner at gunpoint while stealing the store’s merchandise. One of the individuals dropped a cellular phone, which was later tied to Moore.
On March 31, 2017, historical cell site information showed that cell phones owned by Hardy, Brinson, and Moore traveled to Valdosta, Georgia. Hotel records established that Simmons checked into a local inn that evening. On April 1, 2017, three men dressed as women entered Bishop’s Jewelers in Valdosta. While holding the business owners at gunpoint, the men stole money, jewelry, and a firearm from the store’s safe. On April 6, 2017, during a traffic stop, the Fort Lauderdale Police Department recovered the firearm stolen in that robbery from the trunk of a car driven by Moore.
On April 16, 2017, three men dressed as women, left a white Jeep and entered LSO Jewelers in Port St. Lucie, Florida. Holding the owner and an employee at gunpoint, the men attempted to steal the store’s jewelry stock. An off duty state agent called the police and reported the robbery. As police arrived, the waiting white Jeep pulled away and the men inside the store fled on foot. Port Saint Lucie officers located Simmons in a nearby hospital parking lot wearing only his underwear and a sock. Brinson, who was driving the white Jeep, was located at a nearby restaurant. Hardy escaped into a nearby retirement community and held the four residents, snowbirds from Toronto, Ontario, at gunpoint for several hours, eventually forcing them to drive him from Port St. Lucie to Fort Lauderdale.
The defendants are scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Kenneth A. Marra on June 7, 2019, beginning at 1:30 p.m. Simmons, Hardy, Brinson, and Moore face up to 20 years in prison for the robbery and robbery conspiracy charges and a consecutive mandatory minimum term of 7 years to life in prison for each conviction for brandishing a firearm during a crime of violence. Additionally, Hardy faces up to 15 years in prison for each of the kidnapping charges.
This case stems from Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program that brings together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. PSN was reinvigorated in 2017 as part of the Department’s renewed focus on targeting violent criminals, directing all U.S. Attorney’s Offices to work in partnership with federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement and the local community to develop effective, locally-based strategies to reduce violent crime.
U.S. Attorney Fajardo Orshan commended the investigative efforts of the FBI and ATF in this matter. She thanked the Broward Sheriff’s Office, Fort Lauderdale Police Department, Port St. Lucie Police Department, Hernando County Sheriff’s Office, Valdosta Police Department, and U.S. Marshals Service for their assistance. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jodi L. Anton and Anita White.