Robbery ringleader sentenced for recruiting teens to cellphone store heists in Flushing and Howard Beach – QNS.com

Robbery ringleader sentenced for recruiting teens to cellphone store heists in Flushing and Howard Beach

Photo courtesy of Jackeline Garcia

A Brooklyn man has been sentenced after orchestrating nearly a dozen cellphone store robberies spanning the course of a year, including two in Flushing and Howard Beach.

Arthur Sam, otherwise known as “16,” was sentenced on Aug. 11 to 10 years in prison. The sentence also included a term of three years of supervised release and $304,179 in restitution.

According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York, the 37-year-old defendant used teenage minors, among others, to commit robberies at 11 cellphone stores in Queens and Brooklyn between April and December 2015.

The group attempted to rob a Flushing Verizon store at 191-30 Northern Blvd. on June 3, 2015 — an incident which culminated with a car chase and crash that left five people hurt — and robbed a Howard Beach AT&T store at 157-14 Cross Bay Blvd. on Dec. 8, 2015.

In each instance, Sam’s co-conspirators restrained and threatened store employees and customers by pretending to have a firearm or displaying an imitation weapon, while Sam would watch from inside his BMW sedan parked nearby. During some incidents, prosecutors said, Sam maintained contact with his crew via cellphone so he could monitor the situation.

Sam and his recruited co-conspirators stole cell phones and other store merchandise with a total value of over $300,000 during the robberies, prosecutors said. The stolen items were then sold to an intermediary, who sent them overseas.

Four other members of Sam’s crew who previously pleaded guilty remain to be sentenced.

“Numerous victims were made to fear for their lives as the cellphone stores where they worked were held up by these perpetrators, who simulated firearms or displayed imitation pistols,” NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill said. “I want to thank the members of the NYPD and its partners who worked to make the arrests and secure the guilty pleas in order to bring today’s sentencing.”

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