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Feds: Roslyn Heights man pleads guilty to store robbery spree

A Roslyn Heights man has admitted to his role in a string of 2012 armed robberies of electronics stores in New York and New Jersey -- including four in Nassau County, federal authorities said.

Leonard Arrington, 27, pleaded guilty Wednesday before U.S. District Court Judge Joel A. Pisano in federal court in Trenton, N.J., to one count of conspiracy to commit Hobbs Act robberies and one count of using a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence, officials said.

Federal officials said sentencing is scheduled for Jan. 22.

The conspiracy charge carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison, while the weapons charge carries a maximum penalty of life in prison -- with a mandatory minimum sentence of 7 years, which must run consecutively to any other prison term.

Each count also carries a maximum fine of $250,000.

Four of the seven robberies Arrington admitted to took place in Nassau County, officials said.

All seven robberies involved the electronics and communications stores Radio Shack or T-Mobile, authorities said.

The list of robberies, included: Radio Shack, New Rochelle, May 30, 2012; T-Mobile, Hempstead, June 11, 2012; Radio Shack, Westbury, June 18, 2012; T-Mobile, West Hempstead, June 20, 2012; Radio Shack, Rockville Centre, June 21, 2012; T-Mobile, Linden, N.J., Sept. 20, 1012; and, T-Mobile, Woodbridge, N.J., Oct. 2, 2012.

Officials said that special agents from the FBI, as well as Nassau County police, the NYPD, officers from the Linden and Woodbridge police departments and the Kings County district attorney's office.

Authorities said that, in pleading guilty to the gun charge, Arrington admitted that on Oct. 2 he entered the T-Mobile store in Woodbridge, "brandishing a firearm, along with another man." After locking the front door, authorities said, Arrington and his accomplice "took the employees to the back of the store and tied them up, then stole approximately 40 cellphones."

One of the robbers called a getaway driver, who authorities said then drove them from the scene in a Land Rover.

The stolen cellphones were then delivered to a phone store in Brooklyn, authorities said.

Authorities said the Woodbridge robbery on Oct. 2 was typical of each of the offenses, stating: "Arrington conspired with others to commit a series of gunpoint electronics store robberies during which he and accomplices stole merchandise for illegal resale. Typically, store employees were threatened at gunpoint and restrained during the robberies."

The Hobbs Act was enacted in 1946 "as a statute to combat racketeering in labor-management disputes." It most-often is related to "cases involving public corruption, commercial disputes, and corruption directed at members of labor unions."

The act also prohibits "actual or attempted robbery or extortion" affecting interstate or foreign commerce -- in this case, cellphones.

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