TRENTON — Two Essex County men were each sentenced to 130 months in prison for robbing a Target Store in Union, on “Black Friday” in November 2012, U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman announced.
Lavell Jones, 29, of East Orange, previously pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Anne Thompson to an indictment charging him with one count of Hobbs Act robbery. Darrell A. Carter, 25, of Irvington, previously pleaded guilty before Thompson to an information charging him with one count of Hobbs Act robbery and one count of using a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence. Thompson imposed both sentences in Trenton federal court.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
On Nov. 23, 2012, Jones, Carter, DaQuaan Vaughn, 36, of Newark, and Maryland Liggins III, 30, of Newark, robbed a 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.
Jones posed as a shopper and served as a lookout inside the store. He alerted the others when the store was closing and money was being transferred from the store’s registers to the cash room. Liggins served as the getaway driver.
Before closing, Carter and Vaughn waited in the bathroom. When an employee entered the bathroom, Carter and Vaughn restrained the employee and threatened him with a firearm.
After the store closed, Carter and Vaughn entered the cash room, restrained other Target employees with zip ties and robbed them at gunpoint, stealing more than $50,000 from a cash cart and safe. Then they fled the store and ran out to a vehicle – driven by Liggins – that was parked on the shoulder of nearby Route 78.
In addition to the prison term, Thompson sentenced Jones to three years of supervised release and Carter to five years of supervised release; both were ordered to pay $54,000 in restitution to Target. All of the defendants have the same restitution obligation until the full $54,000 is satisfied.
Vaughn and Liggins have also pleaded guilty to their roles in the robbery and await sentencing.
Fishman credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Richard Frankel, with the investigation leading to the guilty pleas. He also thanked the Union Police Department for its role in the investigation and Target corporate security for its cooperation.