Dallas, Texas – Michael Cornelious, 27, and Larry Solomon, 43, both of Houston, Texas, were sentenced this week by U.S. District Judge Ed Kinkeade to lengthy prison sentences for their role in the conspiracy to rob Tilak Jewelers in Irving, announced U.S. Attorney Erin Nealy Cox of the Northern District of Texas.
Cornelious pleaded guilty in October 2017 to one count of conspiracy to interfere with commerce by robbery. Judge Kinkeade sentenced Cornelious to 150 months in federal prison and ordered him to pay $370,718.72 in restitution. Solomon pleaded guilty in June 2017 to one count of conspiracy to interfere with commerce by robbery and one count of using, carrying, and brandishing a firearm during and in relation to, and possessing and brandishing a firearm in furtherance of, a crime of violence. Solomon was sentenced to 130 months in federal prison and also ordered to pay $370,718.72 in restitution.
Cornelious and Solomon were charged along with ten other individuals in an indictment in February 2016. Afraybeom Traverom Jackson, Dominique Pearson, Hilton Murdock Aitch, Irving Tyrone Flanagan, Terrence Lynn Thompson, Anthony Ray Turner, Jr, Treveon Dominique Anderson, Xavier Rashad Ross, Joshua Deunte Caldwell and Vanlisa Scott were each charged with one count of one count of conspiracy to interfere with commerce by robbery and one count of using, carrying, and brandishing a firearm during and in relation to, and possessing and brandishing a firearm in furtherance of, a crime of violence. On October 12, 2017, Jimmy Hatchett was charged for the same robbery. Out of the thirteen, eleven have pleaded guilty and two are set for trial on January 29, 2018.
According to plea documents filed in the case, in the early morning hours on November 17, 2013, Aitch, Jackson, Caldwell, Pearson, Flanagan, Solomon, Aitch, Thompson, Turner, Anderson, Cornelious, and Ross, traveled from Houston, Texas, to the Dallas, Texas, area with the specific intent to rob the Tilak Jewelers store located at 8300 North MacArthur Boulevard, Suite 100, Irving, Texas. They stole a cargo van and a minivan after they arrived in the Dallas, Texas, area in order to avoid detection and apprehension by law enforcement.
Jackson, Caldwell, Pearson, Turner, Anderson, and Ross drove together in the stolen cargo van to the Tilak Jewelers store, with the specific intent to commit the robbery. Aitch, Flanagan, and Thompson participated in planning the robbery and positioned themselves outside the Tilak Jewelers store, but maintained communications with Jackson for the purpose of monitoring the robbery and alerting the participants of the presence of law enforcement.
Prior to entering the Tilak Jewelers store, Jackson, Caldwell, Pearson, Turner, Anderson, and Ross disguised their identities by wearing longsleeved clothing, long pants, gloves, and items covering their faces. Jackson and the others entered the jewelry store by smashing the locked glass door with a hammer. After gaining entry into the store, they restrained the owners of the jewelry store with zip-ties, smashed jewelry display cases, and took jewelry from the owners and employees of Tilak Jewelers.
After securing the jewelry, Jackson, Caldwell, Pearson, Turner, Anderson, and Ross fled from the robbery using the stolen cargo van. They abandoned the cargo van at a predetermined location, where Solomon was waiting in the stolen minivan. Solomon then drove them to a second predetermined location, where Cornelious was waiting in a switch vehicle. Cornelious then used the switch vehicle to further facilitate their flight from the robbery and avoid detection and apprehension by law enforcement. Scott, who had traveled from Houston, met Pearson and the other coconspirators at a different location and took possession of the stolen jewelry for the purpose of safely transporting it to Houston, Texas.
The press release is available at justice.gov.