NORFOLK, Va. – A federal jury convicted two men last Friday on charges related to conspiracy to interfere with commerce by means of robbery.
According to court records and evidence presented at trial, Harold Spencer, 32, and Jon Morgan, 32, were members of a five-man armed robbery crew that were apprehended on March 18 after a high-speed pursuit through Virginia Beach following an attempted robbery of a Tiger Mart gas station. A pursuing Virginia Beach police cruiser’s dash camera captured the men throwing several loaded weapons from their car. Only after spike strips were deployed multiple times, did the car finally come to a stop. All men were apprehended, and police recovered ski masks and gloves from inside their vehicle. The clothing and shoes each of them was wearing matched what could be seen in video surveillance from six prior armed robberies. One robber wore a NASA sweatshirt at the first two of six robberies. He was arrested wearing that same NASA sweatshirt.
The rental vehicle they were arrested in was traced back to the Norfolk Airport from where it was rented. One of the co-conspirators caught on the airport video wearing purple shoes was caught later that night on surveillance committing an armed robbery of the Jr. Market in Norfolk wearing purple shoes. Spencer, who shot at a fleeing customer during the second of six-armed robberies, took a “selfie” on his cell phone wearing a ski mask worn in all six robberies—a ski mask, which was recovered after the high-speed pursuit and later was shown to contain his DNA. His cell phone also contained photographs of his co-conspirator holding a handgun with a drum magazine, multiple Glock firearms consistent with those thrown from the fleeing vehicle, pictures of large sums of cash, and lottery tickets.
The armed robbery crew stole cash, cigarettes, and lottery tickets. Investigators from the Virginia Lottery received alerts from convenience stores where attempts were made by Spencer and his co-conspirator, Kareem Ross, to cash the stolen tickets. Investigators pulled the surveillance video from those attempts and identified both men. Additionally, through a shoe impression expert from the Virginia Department of Forensic Science, investigators were able to connect the shoes Spencer was arrested in with a lift of an impression made at the Arrowhead Food Mart he had robbed on March 5. Those shoes could be seen at all six armed robberies Spencer had committed.
Several months before to this conduct, Morgan had completed a prior prison sentence for armed robbery.
Spencer faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 31 years and a maximum penalty of life in prison when. Morgan faces a maximum sentence of 40 years. Both men will be sentenced on June 2, 2023. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
Co-conspirators Kareem Ross, 32, of Hampton; Marvin Lockhart, Jr., 32, of Virginia Beach; and Roshaun Griffin, 34, of Virginia Beach, pleaded guilty to their roles in the conspiracy. They are scheduled to be sentenced on February 16, March 3, and February 23, 2023, respectively.
Jessica D. Aber, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; Brian Dugan, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Norfolk Field Office; and Paul W. Neudigate, Chief of Police, Virginia Beach Police Department, made the announcement after U.S. District Judge Arenda Wright Allen accepted the verdict.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Joe DePadilla and John F. Butler are prosecuting the case.
A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Related court documents and information are located on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 2:20-cr-106.