Guilty pleas in violent kidnapping and robbery of Lenox Jewelers

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Three men pled guilty in Hartford federal court during the past week to violently kidnapping employees of Lenox Jewelers, on Black Rock Tpk. in Fairfield in April 2013, and taking them to the store, which they then robbed.

According to Deirdre M. Daly, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, at approximately 9 p.m. on April 11, 2013, at least four men, including William Davis, 27, and Jeffrey Houston, 28, both of Allentown Pa., and Christopher Gay, 29, of the Bronx, N.Y., broke into an apartment on Gravel Street in Meriden while wearing masks and gloves, bound four victims with duct tape and covered their heads with pillowcases, towels and jackets. At least two of the kidnappers were armed with handguns.

Three of the kidnappers then forced two of the victims into a victim’s vehicle and drove to Lenox Jewelers in Fairfield, where the two victims worked.

At the store, the men stole jewelry, watches and loose diamonds valued at between $4 and $5 million. They then fled in the victim’s car, leaving the two victims bound inside the store.

On different days during the past week, Davis, Houston and Gay each pled guilty to robbery and use of a firearm. All three have been detained since their arrests on May 22, 2013.

When they are sentenced by U.S. District Judge Robert N. Chatigny in Hartford, each faces a maximum of 20 years in prison on the robbery charge and a mandatory consecutive prison term of at least seven years on the firearm charge. Each also faces a restitution order of approximately $3 million.

Davis, Houston and Gay agreed to forfeit gemstones, jewelry, watches and more than $127,000 in cash seized from them on May 22, 2013.  Houston also turned over his vehicle.

Daly said two other people charged with participating in the kidnapping and robbery and are awaiting trial.

The U.S. Marshals Service, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Fairfield Police Department and Meriden Police Department participated in the investigation, with the help of police departments fromYork, Allentown and Bethlehem Pa., and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Tracy Lee Dayton.

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