The Washington Post

Lookout in Rolex, Gucci smash-and-grab robberies sentenced to 7 years

Masked men are seen robbing the Tourneau store in the Pentagon City mall in this surveillance video image. (Police photo)

A man who admitted to being a lookout and scout for a group charged in a string of smash-and-grab robberies at upscale shops in the D.C. area was sentenced to seven years in prison Friday.

The penalty imposed by U.S. District Judge Leonie M. Brinkema was essentially a compromise between prosecutors’ request that Floyd Davis, 43, spend slightly more than 11 years in prison and defense attorneys’ plea that he serve five. Davis pleaded guilty this year to conspiracy to obstruct, delay or affect interstate commerce by robbery and a related gun charge after prosecutors connected him and others to 15 robberies at high-end stores in Northern Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania.

The spree, which ran from late last year through early this year, sparked terror at retailers across the area. Shattering glass displays as frightened employees looked on, the robbers swiped watches and handbags made by Gucci, Rolex and Michael Kors. Among their targets were the Kors store at Tysons Galleria, the Tourneau store at the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City and the Cartier store on Wisconsin Avenue in Chevy Chase, authorities have said.

William Maloney, the asset-protection manager at Saks Fifth Avenue in Richmond, said Friday in federal district court in Alexandria that employees at his store, who were victims of Davis’s group, are fearful “still to this day.”

“These are people that work every day, week to week, live check by check, and their lives were turned upside down,” Maloney said.

Prosecutors said they believe that the stores lost more than $1 million, collectively, in merchandise.

“This isn’t just a short crime spree,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan Fahey said.

Davis, a resident of the District, apologized to Brinkema for his actions and noted that he “wasn’t one of them going into the stores.” He said his judgment was clouded because of an addiction to painkillers. Todd Richman, Davis’s defense attorney, said his client became hooked on painkillers in 2010 after they were prescribed for back pain and was motivated to join the robberies in part to support his habit.

Brinkema was at least somewhat sympathetic. She noted that after a tumultuous upbringing — Richman said in court fillings that Davis was abusing cocaine and PCP by age 15 — he had managed to stay out of trouble with law enforcement for 15 years before the robbery spree. She said she also took into consideration the fact that Davis was not one of the robbers who wielded sledgehammers at the stores. His main role was to go into the stores ahead of time so he could tell his accomplices how many people were inside and where security guards were stationed.

“The conduct of the others is definitely higher than yours,” she said.

So far, only one other person, 34-year-old Walter Douglas, also of the District, has been charged publicly in the case. He pleaded guilty last month and is awaiting sentencing.

Family members and friends of Davis’s declined to comment after the hearing. Richman also declined to comment.

Matt Zapotosky covers the federal district courthouse in Alexandria, where he tries to break news from a windowless office in which he is not allowed to bring his cell phone.

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