Crime Team Targeted Russian Jewelry Store; Used GPS to Recon Staff, Got Half Million

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Bank robbery verdict

Crime Team Targeted Russian Jewelry Store; Used GPS to Recon Staff, Got Half Million

Second Conspirator Admits to Jewelry Store Heist that Included a Carjacking and Kidnapping 

BALTIMORE, MD (Oct. 4, 2015) —Peter Aleksandrov Magnis, age 27, of Hydes, Maryland, pleaded guilty today to a robbery conspiracy in connection with the robbery of a jewelry store, including a carjacking and kidnapping.

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The guilty plea was announced on Oct. 1, 2015 by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Special Agent in Charge Kevin Perkins of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; Chief James W. Johnson of the Baltimore County Police Department; and Baltimore County State’s Attorney Scott Shellenberger.

According to his plea agreement, Magnis was part of a conspiracy to rob a Pikesville jewelry store. Specifically, in the fall of 2012, a co-conspirator devised a plan to commit an armed robbery of a jewelry store, known to be owned and operated by members of the Russian community of Northwest Baltimore. The co-conspirator recruited Magnis, Grigoriy Zilberman and others to participate in the robbery. Prior to the robbery, the conspirators gathered intelligence, including conducting surveillance and attaching a GPS device to the car of an employee of the jewelry store in order to learn the employee’s travel routine and habits. Zilberman also exploited his friendship with the employee to obtain information about the operation of the jewelry store and the habits of the employee.

According to Magnis’ plea agreement, on January 15, 2013, Zilberman enticed the employee to visit his home, in order to alert the other co-conspirators of the employee’s whereabouts. Early in the morning on January 16, 2013, as the employee was driving from Zilberman’s home, four co-conspirators used a law enforcement-type light bar and a loudspeaker to impersonate a police officer and pull over the employee. Brandishing firearms, the co-conspirators removed the employee from his car, bound and blindfolded the employee, put him into the trunk of his own car, and drove him to a predetermined location.

According to the plea agreement, once at the location, Magnis’ co-conspirators continued to brandish firearms and threatened to kill the employee’s family if he did not comply with their demands or if he reported the incident to police. The employee complied and at approximately 3:52 a.m., two co-conspirators drove the employee’s vehicle from the remote location to the jewelry store, while other co-conspirators stayed with the employee.

Additional co-conspirators were stationed near the jewelry store to act as “look-outs.” The two co-conspirators entered the jewelry store and stole jewelry, stones, and watches, valued at about $500,000. The 2 co-conspirators drove back to the remote location, where the employee was placed back into the trunk of his car and driven to another location, where he was left. The employee was able to kick his way out of the trunk through the back seat of his car.

On January 18, 2013, one of the conspirators sold a portion of the stolen jewelry for approximately $29,000 to an FBI informant. On January 19, 2013, the conspirator traveled to Brooklyn, New York to sell some of the jewelry and stones taken during the robbery, receiving over $100,000. On January 21, 2013, the conspirator returned to Maryland and divided the cash proceeds among the members of the conspiracy and others.

On November 19, 2014, during the search of Magnis’ residence and the adjacent property, a bag of guns was found buried on the adjacent property within 20 feet of Magnis’ property. Inside the bag were six firearms (all rifles and shotguns), each individually wrapped in clear plastic wrap. Two of the firearms were sawed off shotguns, and one of these had an obliterated serial number. Both of those guns were stolen during an armed home invasion of residence in Reisterstown, Maryland, on July 22, 2012.

In addition, in January and May 2013 Magnis purchased three handguns. One of those handguns was seized during a car stop and search of a co-conspirator in September 2013. The co-conspirator was prohibited from purchasing or possessing firearms due to a previous felony conviction.

Magnis faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison for the robbery conspiracy. U.S. District Judge J. Frederick Motz has scheduled sentencing for December 22, 2015, at 10:30 a.m.

Grigoriy (Greg) Zilberman, age 24, of Owings Mills, Maryland, previously pleaded guilty to his role in the robbery conspiracy and is scheduled to be sentenced on December 18, 2015.

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