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1 convicted in Manhasset jewelry heist; 3 await trial

Javon Gamble, 31 of Brooklyn, is one of

Javon Gamble, 31 of Brooklyn, is one of four masked men accused of entered London Jewelers in Manhasset wielding guns and sledgehammers. (Oct 15, 2011) Credit: NCPD

One of four men charged in a brazen midday jewelry heist at the posh Americana Manhasset mall in October 2011 was convicted Wednesday by a jury for his role in the crime.

Javon Gamble, 33, of Brooklyn, could face up to 25 years in prison on each of three first-degree robbery charges when he is sentenced April 19. He had served about 15 years in prison on a 1995 second-degree murder and robbery conviction, records show, and was on parole at the time of the heist.

During the trial, prosecutor Martin Meaney told jurors Gamble was one of four men who burst into London Jewelers on Oct. 14, 2011. They ordered staff and customers to lie on the floor, then smashed jewelry cases with a sledgehammer and made off with about $800,000 worth of high-end watches, he said.

The store is part of a quarter-mile stretch of luxury retailers that includes Hermes, Tiffany & Co., Versace, Prada, Frette, Louis Vuitton and Fendi.

In his closing argument Monday, Meaney told jurors there was ample evidence to convict Gamble, who was caught with a watch in his pocket as he fled across a golf course in Lake Success.

"If it walks like a duck, and it quacks like a duck, it is a duck," Meaney said. "If it runs like a thief and . . . leaves DNA like a thief, then quack, quack, it's a thief."

But Gamble's defense lawyer, Michael Elbert, of Mineola, said police manipulated the evidence in order to convict his client.

"The police were guilty of misconduct in every aspect of this case," he said. "We will be filing an appeal."

Earlier in the trial, Elbert successfully argued that several charges against his client should be dismissed by Judge George Peck, including three counts of second-degree robbery and two counts of second-degree criminal possession of a weapon.

The three other Brooklyn men charged in the robbery, Leroy Nelson, 28, Reggie Fowler, 25, and Samuel Cephas, 32, await trial.

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