A federal grand jury last week indicted 46-year-old Wayne Bellille on two counts of Hobbs Act robberies, conspiracy, and related gun charges, U.S. Attorney Gretchen C. F. Shappert reported Wednesday.
Bellille made his initial appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Ruth Miller and was detained pending further proceedings.
The charges came in a “superseding indictment” on Nov. 1. The indictment was the result of an investigation into Hobbs Act robberies of two jewelry stores on St. Thomas: Signature Jewelers on Aug. 19, 2015, and 3G’s Jewelry and Repair on Sept. 14, 2015, Shappert said.
According to the news release, Bellille and other co- conspirators conspired to rob the stores and brandished weapons to threaten and intimidate store employees. The robbers used duct tape to bind and gag the victims and then fled the store with cash and merchandise.
If convicted, Bellille faces up to 20 years on each of the Hobbs Act robbery charges, mandatory consecutive sentences of seven and 25 year for each brandishing of a firearm charge, and a $250,000 fine.
The case was investigated by the FBI and the Virgin Islands Police Department and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Sigrid M. Tejo-Sprotte.