Prosecutors say the men robbed a patron of a $500,000 wristwatch at gunpoint.
LOS ANGELES (CN) — Three California men face federal charges stemming from an armed robbery at a crowded Beverly Hills restaurant in March that left a diner with a gunshot wound to the leg.
The federal complaint unsealed Tuesday said the three men entered the Il Pastaio restaurant in Beverly Hills on March 4 and held a patron at gunpoint while robbing him of his $500,000 Richard Mille wristwatch.
The patron struggled with the attackers in an attempt to seize control of the gun. During the struggle, two shots were fired and a woman dining at the restaurant was struck in the leg.
The handgun fell to the ground during the struggle and the attackers fled the scene with the patron’s wristwatch, according to the complaint.
On Tuesday, federal agents arrested Malik Lamont Powell, 20, Khai McGhee, a.k.a. “Cameron Smith,” 18, and Marquise Anthony Gardon, 30. They each are charged with one count of conspiracy to interfere with commerce by robbery, according to federal prosecutors.
McGhee and Powell are in jail pending arraignment on June 3. Gardon has been released on a $25,000 bond and will be arraigned June 17.
Prosecutors said Wednesday video surveillance footage show the attackers scouting the area before the robbery and that witness statements said a total of five individuals were part of the crew that orchestrated the attack at Il Pastaio.
According to an affidavit filed with the complaint, Powell and McGhee were identified as two of the three attackers and Gardon has been identified as a getaway driver in the incident.
According to federal prosecutors, a black BMW belonging to Powell was used to transport the crew to and from the scene of the armed robbery. Powell and Gardon’s cellphone location data show they were both present near Il Pastaio at the time of the incident, the complaint said.
The affidavit also said the robbery victim’s clothing contained traces of McGhee’s DNA.
Prosecutors say Powell’s social media accounts contain images of guns and expensive wristwatches. According to the federal complaint, the three men are members of Los Angeles’ Rollin’ 30s Crips street gang.
The men face a statutory maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison if convicted on all expected charges.
Ciaran McEvoy, spokesperson for the office of Acting U.S. Attorney for the Central District of California Tracy Wilkison, said in a statement its not uncommon for federal prosecutors to charge participants in this scale of crime if investigators suspect ties to organized criminal groups.
“Federal authorities traditionally have looked into organized criminal activity, including crime rings that are involved in a series of robberies,” McEvoy said. “Federal law enforcement has the ability to work with local authorities to link crimes in different jurisdictions and to curtail criminal activity that affects a region or an industry that transcends the boundaries of one city.”
The FBI and the Beverly Hills Police Department investigated this matter along with the Santa Monica Police Department.