STT District Court: Petersen Charged in Altona Armored Car Robbery

Melik Petersen, age 28, was charged Friday in St. Thomas District Court with Hobb’s Act Robbery in connection with the attempted robbery of an armored car making a pick up at a St. Thomas bank.

According to U.S. Attorney Gretchen C.F. Shappert, Petersen appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Ruth Miller for an advice of rights hearing after being taken into custody by the FBI on Thursday. At the conclusion of the hearing, Miller released Petersen pending the posting of a $50,000 cash or property bond.

According to court documents, at about 9 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 11, three individuals in a black Nissan Altima drove into the parking lot of the Scotia Bank branch in Altona, while employees of Ranger American Armored Service were preparing to load three cash bags containing $951,000 into their armored truck.

As the Altima approached the Ranger guards, police said, a masked individual exited the rear driver’s side of the Altima with a long gun, and a second masked individual exited the rear passenger’s side door with a handgun. The masked individuals fired several shots at the Ranger American guards and struck one of the guards in the rear upper right thigh.

Surveillance video from Scotia Bank shows that after the guard was shot, the driver of the Altima tried to leave the scene before the other two men secured the money. According to police, the robbers dropped the Scotia Bank money bags while they ran after the getaway vehicle.

At approximately 11:30 p.m. Wednesday, VIPD units canvassing the area located a black Nissan Altima matching the description of the vehicle involved in the robbery in the parking lot of Mitchell Motel in Contant, St. Thomas. VIPD officers discovered that the original V.I. license tag assigned to the black Nissan Altima had been covered with a different, unrelated tag. Officers also recovered a .40 caliber shell casing from the vehicle and found a fresh, visible bullet hole in the passenger side door.

This case is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Delia L. Smith.

In other St. Thomas District Court news:

– Tillisa Caesar
Tillisa Caesar, 32, appeared today before U.S. Magistrate Judge George Cannon for an advice of rights hearing after being taken into custody by the Homeland Security Investigation.

Caesar was charged with possession with intent to distribute, Shappert said. At the conclusion of the hearing, Magistrate Cannon remanded Caesar pending her detention hearing on Thursday.

According to court records, on July 10, Caesar recruited Amarrah Stevens of St. Thomas to act as a courier to smuggle several packages of cocaine from St. Croix to Miami onboard American Airlines flight No. 2227. On July 11, after boarding the flight, Caesar instructed Stevens to retrieved two brick shaped packages of cocaine that were placed in the life vest bin located under her seat. The investigation revealed that the packages of cocaine were placed on the aircraft during the overnight hours of July 10, while it sat on the tarmac.

Caesar also purchased Stevens’ airline tickets and deposit cash in Stevens’ Banco Popular account before and after her flight to Miami. Surveillance video footage shows Caesar making cash deposits into Stevens’ account at the Sunny Isles branch of Banco Popular on St. Croix, one of which was made when Stevens was in flight to Miami.

Upon arrival in Miami, Stevens and another male passenger, Lloyd Ferdinand, were arrested by Customs and Border Patrol and found to be in possession of a total of five brick-shaped packages of cocaine. Caesar currently is awaiting trial on Oct. 28, in Ft. Lauderdale on cocaine importation charges.

This case is being investigated by the Homeland Security Investigation, and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Delia L. Smith.

– Jimmy Davis
Jimmy Davis, 41, of St. Croix, pleaded guilty in District Court before Judge Curtis V. Gomez, to one count of resisting and impeding a federal officer, Shappert said. Davis was convicted in April of possession of cocaine and aggravated assault and battery in a federal jury trial on St. Croix.

According to court documents, on or around May 3 Davis, who was housed at the Golden Grove Adult Correctional Facility, became aggressive with the deputy marshals, using his hands and feet to resist and impede the U.S. marshals from performing their lawful duties of preparing Davis for transport to Puerto Rico.

Davis faces a maximum sentence of one year incarceration, a maximum period of supervised release of one year, and a maximum fine of $100,000. His sentencing is scheduled for Jan. 16.

This case was investigated by the U.S. Marshals Service, the Virgin Islands Bureau of Corrections and the Department of Homeland Security Investigations. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Everard E. Potter.

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