Greenbelt, Maryland – U.S. District Judge Paula Xinis sentenced James Lorenzo Thomas, Jr., age 32, of Oxon Hill, Maryland, to 25 years in federal prison, followed by five years of supervised release, for three counts of commercial armed robbery, three counts of brandishing a firearm during a crime of violence, and one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm. The sentence was imposed on February 28, 2019, the jury convicted Thomas on December 3, 2018.
The sentence was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Robert K. Hur; Acting Special Agent in Charge Jennifer L. Moore of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Baltimore Field Office; and Chief Henry P. Stawinski III of the Prince George’s County Police Department.
“James Thomas committed these robberies in broad daylight, threatened the store employees at gunpoint, attempted to intimidate a witness, and threatened a Deputy U.S. Marshal,” said U.S. Attorney Robert K. Hur. “This prosecution and sentence send a strong message that these criminal actions cannot, and will not, be tolerated.”
According to evidence presented at his four-day trial, in less than one hour on April 6, 2017, Thomas and a co-defendant robbed businesses in Camp Springs, Clinton, and District Heights, Maryland. In each robbery the defendants brandished a firearm. In all of the robberies, Thomas and his co-defendant stole cash from the business, and in one robbery also took a victim’s cell phone. At the location of their last robbery, a game store, Thomas and his co-defendant also stole PS4s, virtual reality headsets, and an Xbox – one of which had a GPS tracker that led the police to the robbers less than 20 minutes after they left the store. The police found Thomas and his co-defendant in the getaway car, surrounded by game consoles and dividing up the cash from the robberies. The gun used in the robberies was also recovered. According to court documents, these robberies were committed while Thomas was on probation for a previous conviction for conspiracy to commit robbery.
During the trial, Thomas attempted to intimidate a witness to prevent the witness from testifying at trial. As a result, the witness initially would not answer the prosecutor’s questions. After a short recess, the witness did testify. A Deputy U.S. Marshal, who heard the attempted intimidation, subsequently testified at the trial as to what the defendant said to the witness. Thomas subsequently also threatened the Deputy U.S. Marshal.
Co-defendant Nathan Sergio Latimore, age 33, of Camp Springs, Maryland, previously pleaded guilty to five robberies, including the three he committed with Thomas. On December 10, 2018, Judge Xinis sentenced Latimore to 10 years in federal prison.
This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) is the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts. PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime. Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them. As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.
United States Attorney Robert K. Hur commended the FBI Cross-Border Task Force and the Prince George’s County Police Department for their work in the investigation. Mr. Hur thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys Timothy F. Hagan, Jr. and Elizabeth G. Wright, who are prosecuting the case.