Five men, including one Long Islander, were charged Tuesday in federal court in Brooklyn with a pair of brazen armed robberies of Manhattan jewelry stores earlier this year, prosecutors said.
Michael Sellick, 67, of Franklin Square, was part of a crew that wore masks and construction vests and stole about $2 million in jewels from high-end stores while brandishing a gun, authorities said.
“Dressed as construction workers, the defendants allegedly sought to blend into the busy streets around them before pointing guns at the jewelry stores’ employees and carrying out about $2 million in stolen diamonds and other valuable pieces,” said Damian Williams, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York.
Sellick was charged alongside three New Jersey residents and a Queens resident with one count of Hobbs Act robbery; one count of conspiracy to commit Hobbs Act robbery and one count of brandishing a firearm during and in connection with a crime of violence. The Hobbs Act prohibits robberies affecting interstate or foreign commerce.
Gerald McMahon, Sellick’s Manhattan-based defense attorney, said his client gets up every morning at 5 a.m. to work for $55-per-hour as a bridge painter.
“That is hardly the profile of a guy out there doing million dollar jewelry heists,” McMahon said, adding that the evidence, including surveillance images from the stores, was “circumstantial.”
Charging documents show that on Jan. 3, Sellick and another defendant entered a Madison Avenue jewelry store at 10:20 a.m. as an employee was preparing to place merchandise onto the shop’s street-level display.
The other suspect, from Red Bank, N.J., then pointed a gun at the employee and said, “give it to me” before Sellick added, “turn around and get in the closet,” prosecutors said.
The pair fled in vehicles driven by the other defendants with at least three pieces of high-end diamond jewelry, including a 73-carat necklace, an approximately six-carat ring and a roughly 17-carat pair of earrings, officials said. Surveillance footage from the area shows two of the defendants “casing” the scene the day before the robbery, documents show.
The team reportedly struck again on May 20, moments after an Elizabeth Street jewelry store opened for the morning with Sellick and the Red Bank man entering through the street-level entrance.
This time, Sellick pointed a gun at employees and ordered them to the ground while the other man gathered jewelry, prosecutors said. The men then fled the store with the stolen goods in a car driven by one defendant, before switching to another vehicle driven by a second suspect, records show.
If convicted, the defendants face up to 47 years in prison, prosecutors said.