Crime - Sacto 911

Feds arrest 2 in Rolex robbery case

A brazen midday armed robbery of a Folsom jewelry store has landed two men in federal court on charges of interfering with and conspiring to interfere with interstate commerce and carrying a firearm while committing a crime of violence.

The heist netted the duo 25 Rolex watches valued at $310,800.

London Jamal Webb and Dion Laroy Johnson II were initially arrested early this year by state parole and sheriff’s officers in connection with the robbery of a Grebitus & Sons Fine Jewelers store in the Palladio at Broadstone shopping complex. Since then, they have been held in the Sacramento County jail on second-degree robbery charges pending in Superior Court, and were scheduled for a preliminary hearing Monday.

But they were hit with the federal charges Thursday and were arrested at the jail by federal authorities. The state charges will likely be dropped.

The interstate commerce charges are based on the facts that Rolex watches are made in Switzerland, Rolex has an office in New York City and a service center in Dallas, and Grebitus receives its Rolex shipments from both domestic locations.

At approximately 11 a.m. Oct. 14, just as the mall was starting to fill up with shoppers, two masked men entered the jewelry store, one brandishing a handgun and the other lugging a sledge hammer. The man with the gun ordered the three employees face down on the floor, while his partner smashed the glass display case containing the watches, according to an FBI affidavit filed in federal court Thursday along with a criminal complaint.

The men fled in a Subaru Outback driven by a third person southbound on East Bidwell Street, the FBI affidavit says.

Blood was found in the display case and on the inside of the store’s front door. DNA testing of the blood from the display case later matched it with Webb, the affidavit says.

The day after the robbery, a Folsom police officer located a 2013 silver Subaru Outback in the parking lot of the Courtyard Inn on Iron Point Road, just off Highway 50 and a half-mile from the jewelry store. The vehicle had Montana license plates and had been reported stolen from a car rental company in Missoula. It had been rented seven weeks before the robbery, according to the affidavit.

The document relates that blood was found on the inside of the front passenger door and a cellphone was located under the front passenger seat. The phone’s number, text messages retrieved from it and information from Facebook confirmed the phone belonged to Webb. Call records showed 14 contacts with a number associated with Johnson in the hours surrounding the time of the robbery. Mapping from the GPS coordinates of cell towers showed the two phones were near the jewelry store at the time of the robbery.

Text messages on the phones demonstrate Webb, 27, and Johnson, 26, planning the heist, according to the FBI affidavit, which quotes some of the messages.

A week before the robbery, Webb texted Johnson: “I guess we bout to get ready to do this”

On Oct. 14, at 10:35 a.m., less than a half-hour before robbers entered the jewelry store, Webb texted Johnson: “Yea we gone wait mins and then drive threw one more time and park and bounce out and see if the door open”

On the day he was booked – Feb. 5 – officers interviewed Webb at the jail. One officer informed Webb there was no doubt in the officer’s mind that Webb was in the jewelry store, the affidavit says.

It says Webb interrupted the officer, “You have my blood,” he said. “I know what you got.”

Denny Walsh: 916-321-1189