An upstate man was indicted by a federal grand jury in connection to an armed jewel heist in Flushing that left a 79-year-old woman badly beaten nearly a year ago.
Jose Andrade Vargas, 21, of Syracuse, was tracked down last September in Texas and extradited back to Queens where he was booked on robbery charges at the 105th Precinct in Queens Village last week.
Andrade Vargas is the second man to be indicted under the federal Hobbs Act on robbery conspiracy charges, accused of executing the jewel heist with an accomplice on the afternoon of Wednesday, Feb. 22. Police from the 109th Precinct reported that the perpetrators entered Diamond Collect at 133-42 39th Ave., a block north of Roosevelt Avenue, at 2:20 p.m. and punched and kicked the woman who worked at the store. One of the men pulled out a firearm and pistol-whipped her in the back of her head. The robbers remove approximately $500,000 in jewelry before running off southbound toward Prince Street.
EMS responded to the scene and rushed the victim to New York-Presbyterian Queens Hospital where she was listed in stable condition.
Andrade Vargas was arraigned in Brooklyn federal court on Jan. 22 and detained on two counts of robbery and weapons charges. His accomplice Andry Marcano was arrested in May and arraigned in Brooklyn federal court and then released on a $50,000 bond, according to the Office of the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York. Both defendants pleaded not guilty to the robbery.