SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- Two men who were indicted late last year for the September, 2016 hold-up of Maxon's Diamond Merchants in Springfield, have both pleaded guilty in federal court.
Federal prosecutors say Mark Anthone Pitts, 32, of Detroit, pleaded guilty today (March 22) and Justin B. Anderson, 32, also of Detroit, pleaded guilty to the same charge on March 9.
The robbery happened Sept. 1, 2016 at the store in the Brentwood Shopping Center on S. Glenstone Ave.
Prosecutors say the men pushed their way inside the store after a third, unidentified man was buzzed in by employees, then used sledgehammers to smash display cases containing Rolex watches.
The men grabbed 11 of the watches before fleeing. The watches were valued at $118,000.
Pitts and Anderson could face 20 years in prison when they are formally sentenced in a few weeks.
Full news release by U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Missouri:
TWO DETROIT MEN PLEAD GUILTY TO ROBBING
SPRINGFIELD JEWELRY STORE
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. - Tom Larson, Acting United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced today that two Detroit, Mich., men have pleaded guilty in federal court to robbing a Springfield, Mo., jewelry store.
Mark Anthone Pitts, 32, of Detroit, pleaded guilty today before U.S. Magistrate Judge David P. Rush to the charge contained in a Dec. 6, 2016, federal indictment. Co-defendant Justin B. Anderson, 32, of Detroit, pleaded guilty to the same charge on March 9, 2017.
Pitts and Anderson each admitted to robbing Maxon’s Diamond Merchants, 2622 S. Glenstone Ave., Springfield, on Sept. 1, 2016.
According to Pitts’s plea agreement, an unknown African-American male was buzzed through the secured front door of the jewelry store. When the male entered the store, he refused to close the front door. Employees approached the male, telling him to close the door. When the individual refused to shut the door, the employees attempted to push him out of the store. The male then physically shoved an employee as he kept the front door open.
Pitts and Anderson then entered the store. They pulled out small sledgehammers, causing employees to retreat from the front of the store out of fear of being harmed. Pitts and Anderson used the sledgehammers to break the glass counters and display cases that contained Rolex watches. Pitts and Anderson then grabbed several Rolex watches and fled from the store. Officers later determined that 11 Rolex watches, valued at a total of $118,000, were stolen in the robbery.
Cell phone video from a store employee showed the getaway car - a 2000 Dodge Stratus that had been stolen from a local Target department store earlier that day - waiting for the three men. Pitts and Anderson, however, failed to escape in the getaway car, which left the scene without them. Pitts was arrested after store employees who followed him took police officers to his location.
Pitts told officers that he did not specifically threaten an employee of Maxon’s Diamond Merchants, but if they had actively resisted the robbery, he would have used his sledgehammer to physically assault the employees.
Under federal statutes, Pitts and Anderson are each subject to a sentence of up to 20 years in federal prison without parole. The maximum statutory sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes, as the sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the court based on the advisory sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors. Sentencing hearings will be scheduled after the completion of presentence investigations by the United States Probation Office.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Patrick Carney and Nhan D. Nguyen. It was investigated by the FBI and the Springfield, Mo., Police Department.
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