By Michelle Graff

Los Angeles--Law enforcement officials are still searching for two of the nine men recently indicted in a spate of smash-and-grab robberies at jewelry stores in Southern California.

A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles confirmed to National Jeweler on Monday that 27-year-old Evan Scott of Inglewood, Calif. and Kenneth Paul, 21, of Los Angeles, remain at large.

Scott and Paul were among the group of men accused in a June 8 indictment of robbing a total of 10 jewelry stores over a nine-month span.

20160628 Kenneth-PaulA photo of 21-year-old Kenneth Paul supplied by the U.S. Attorney’s Office.Paul is one of two men still wanted in the string of jewelry store smash-and-grabs that started last summer in the L.A. area.

According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the men targeted stores known for carrying watch brands like Rolex, Audemars Piguet and TAG Heuer and struck in the daytime, smashing up the display cases that the organizers had instructed them to beforehand.

In order to carry out the crimes, the organizers of the robbery ring allegedly recruited “financially desperate” young men with the promise of a big payout. Yet, despite the fact that they stole watches and jewelry worth a total of $6 million between August 2015 and April 2016, the men who were recruited often received a lot less money than promised, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

The smash-and-grab robberies took place in mall jewelry stores and freestanding locations in Los Angeles, Canoga Park (two), Mission Viejo, Woodland Hills, Thousand Oaks, West Hollywood, Torrance, Malibu and Santa Monica.

All nine men are charged with at least one of six counts alleging a Hobbs Act robbery, a robbery that interferes with commerce. Five of the defendants also face at least one charge of using a firearm in relation to a crime of violence.
20160628 Evan-Scott27-year-old Evan Scott
Special agents with the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies arrested four of the nine men wanted in the robbery ring on the morning of June 16, the day the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced the indictment.

According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, they were: 39-year-old Darrell Dent of Inglewood, who was allegedly the ringleader; 27-year-old Robert Johnson of Inglewood; Stanley Ford, 47, of Los Angeles; and 28-year-old Justin Henning of Inglewood.

Keith Walton, 45, of Los Angeles, 24-year-old Jameson Laforest of Inglewood, and 18-year-old Marshawn Marshall were already in custody when the indictment was handed down, while Scott and Paul remain at large.

The defendants face a maximum of 20 years behind bars for violating the Hobbs Act and a consecutive sentence of seven years, or 10 if the gun was discharged, on the weapons charge.

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