Two men were sentenced to more than two decades in federal prison for their roles in a string of armed robberies at Southern California jewelry stores, prosecutors said today.
Jameson Laforest, 26, of Inglewood, was sentenced Friday to 22 years and eight months in prison, and co-defendant Robert Wesley Johnson, 29, of Inglewood, was handed a 22-year term.
Laforest was involved in three of the jewelry store heists, one in Manhattan Beach, another in West Hollywood and another in Torrance, according to Thom Mrozek of the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Prosecutors told the jury that Laforest was one of two bandits who participated in one smash-and-grab robbery and then graduated to a “more senior role” in the others, which included scouting locations and giving supplies to crooks.
Johnson recruited robbers and helped scout out targets while also supplying guns, hammers and other tools used in the heists, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Co-defendant Evan Scott, who pepper-sprayed an employee in one of three robberies, is awaiting sentencing.
Last month, the robbery crew’s ringleader, Keith Marvel Walton, was sentenced to 55 years in prison.
Fifteen other defendants involved in the robberies pleaded guilty. In July, one of those defendants, 49-year-old Stanley Ford of Lancaster, was sentenced to 25 years behind bars for five robberies.
Prosecutors say the crew was responsible for 14 robberies or attempted heists between early August 2014 and April 2016. Robbers got away with $1.6 million in watches in one holdup at Westfield Century City mall.
The total haul was estimated to be worth about $6 million, prosecutors said.