NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) – A Hampton man received a 27-year prison sentence and a Virginia Beach man was handed a 15-year sentence for their roles in a serial armed robbery crew, the Department of Justice’s Eastern District of Virginia said.
According to court records and evidence at trial, Kareem Ross, 34, and Roshaun Griffin, 36, were members of a five-man armed robbery crew that were arrested March 18 after a high-speed pursuit through Virginia Beach after an attempted robbery of a Tiger Mart gas station.
The dash camera of a pursuing Virginia Beach Police officer caught the men tossing several loaded weapons from their car, and only after spike strips were deployed multiple times did the car finally stop, the court records and evidence indicated, and all the men were apprehended. Police recovered ski masks and gloves from inside their vehicle, and the clothing and shoes they were each wearing matched what could be seen in video surveillance in six prior armed robberies.
Ross wore a NASA sweatshirt at the first two of six robberies and was arrested wearing the same NASA sweatshirt, according to court records and evidence.
Police was able to trace the rental vehicle they were arrested in back to Norfolk International Airport, from where they rented it, with one of the co-conspirators, Marvin Lockhart, 32, of Virginia Beach, was caught on airport video wearing purple shoes, and was caught later that night on a surveillance camera committing an armed robbery of the Jr. Market in Norfolk wearing purple shoes.
Another co-conspirator, Harold Spencer, 32, shot at a fleeing customer during the second of the six armed robberies and took a selfie on his smartphone wearing a ski mask worn in all six robberies, according to court records and evidence, and a ski mask that was recovered after a high-speed pursuit was later shown to have Spencer’s DNA. His cell phone also had photos of his co-conspirator holding a handgun with a drum magazine, along with multiple Glock firearms “consistent with those thrown from the fleeing vehicle, pictures of large sums of cash and lottery tickets.”
Griffin took part in one of the earlier robberies and locked the door so the victims could not escape, evidence and court records state.
Among the stolen items were cash, cigarettes and lottery tickets, and investigators with the Virginia Lottery got alerts from convenience stores when Spencer and Ross attempted to cash in stolen tickets. Investigators were able to check surveillance video from those attempts and ID’d both men.
Also, by using a shoe impression expert from the Virginia Department of Forensic Science, investigators connected the shoes Spencer was arrested in, with a lift of an impression at the Arrowhead Food Mart he had robbed March 5 – the shoes seen at all six armed robberies Spencer was involved in, evidence and court records stated.
Joe Morgan, 32, another co-conspirator, had completed a prison sentence for armed robbery several months prior to the robberies.
Spencer faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 31 years and a maximum penalty of life in prison when sentenced on Nov. 2, while Morgan faces up to 125 months in prison when is sentenced on a date yet to be set.
Lockhart faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 16 years and a maximum penalty of life in prison when he is sentenced on a date yet to be set.