A Queens man was charged in federal court in Brooklyn for allegedly robbing several grocery stores and other local businesses in western Queens in April, according to the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York.
Manuel Guzman Breton, 31, was charged with eight counts of Hobbs Act robbery, which prohibits actual or attempted robbery or extortion that would affect interstate or foreign commerce, in connection with the robberies of eight grocery stores, laundromats and a clothing store in Jackson Heights, Corona, Elmhurst, East Elmhurst and Woodside, according to authorities.
According to authorities and reviewed surveillance footage, between April 7 and 27, Guzman Breton allegedly went on a spree of robberies in which he entered each store, threatened employees with a knife or boxcutter, and stole thousands of dollars from the stores. Guzman Breton allegedly wore a hooded sweatshirt while robbing the businesses, according to the charges.
A worker at a laundromat suffered cuts on the hand trying to grab a knife away from Guzman Breton in one of the robberies, according to the U.S. Attorney.
If convicted, Guzman Breton faces up to 20 years in prison.
Acting United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York Mark J. Lesko was joined by John B. DeVito, special agent-in-charge at the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), and NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea when announcing the arrest and charges Friday, May 21.
“As alleged, Guzman Breton embarked on a one-man crime spree to rob and terrorize hard-working store clerks and employees while armed with a knife or a boxcutter,” Lesko said. “This Office and our partners at the ATF and the NYPD relentlessly pursued this serial armed robber and, by bringing him to justice, stopped him from inflicting further harm on businesses in our communities.”