Benjamin Daye, 34, had been out of state prison barely a month when he put a gun to the child’s head and forced employees and customers to empty cash and belongings into a bag in November 2019.
Rather than go to trial, he accepted a deal from the government.
Daye was wearing a mask when he entered the Federal Street shop, put the boy in a headlock and threatened to harm him “unless everyone got on the floor,” a complaint on file in U.S. District Court in Camden says.
Daye ordered them to dump their wallets, money and belongings on the floor, then had one of them collect it all in a bag before he ran off with $754 and a customer’s wallet, it says.
The youngster, described as under 10, wasn’t harmed, authorities said.
A Camden County police officer who was alerted to the robbery chased and captured Daye a short time later.
Daye had been released from state prison six weeks earlier after serving two years for robbery, records show. He’d also spent more than four years in state prison for a previous robbery conviction.
Daye pleaded guilty via teleconference last October to Hobbs Act robbery affecting commerce and brandishing a firearm during a violent crime.
He’ll have to serve nearly all of the 141-month sentence because there’s no parole in the federal prison system.
In addition to the prison term, U.S. District Judge Robert B. Kugler sentenced Daye via videoconference in Camden to three years of supervised release and ordered him to pay $1,672 in restitution to the victims, Acting U.S. Attorney Rachael A. Honig said.
The case is part of Project Guardian, the Department of Justice’s “signature initiative to reduce gun violence and enforce federal firearms laws,” Honig said.
PROJECT GUARDIAN: justice.gov/projectguardian
Honig credited special agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Camden County Police Department, who she said have formed a partnership of special agents, detectives, and intelligence analysts who “investigate shooting incidents in real time.”
She also cited the Camden County Prosecutor’s Office for its work leading to the guilty plea and sentence, secured by Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel A. Friedman of her Criminal Division in Camden.
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