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Masked NJ Barbershop Robber Who Held Gun To Boy's Head Takes Plea

Benjamin Daye
Benjamin Daye Photo Credit: NJ Department of Corrections

A convicted armed robber had been out of state prison barely a month when he grabbed a boy at a Camden barbershop last year, put a gun to his head and forced employees and customers to empty cash and belongings into a bag.

Benjamin Daye, 34, pleaded guilty Wednesday to federal charges in exchange for what he hopes will be leniency at sentencing, admitting that he grabbed the child in a headlock, forced everyone to the floor and fled with $754 and a customer’s wallet.

Daye was wearing a mask when he entered the Federal Street shop in the middle of the afternoon on Nov. 23, 2019, put the gun to the boy’s head and threatened to hurt 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 it, 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 to Hobbs Act robbery affecting commerce and brandishing a firearm during a violent crime.

U.S. District Judge Robert B. Kugler scheduled sentencing for Feb. 9.

Daye is looking at considerable time behind bars given that he’s a twice-imprisoned convicted felon who committed a robbery with a gun. He will have to serve nearly all of the sentence because there’s no parole in the federal prison system.

The case is part of Project Guardian, the Department of Justice’s “signature initiative to reduce gun violence and enforce federal firearms laws,” Carpenito said.

PROJECT GUARDIAN: justice.gov/projectguardian

Carpenito credited special agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Camden County Police Department and the Camden County Prosecutor’s Office with their work leading to the guilty plea.

Handling the case for the government is Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel A. Friedman of Carpenito’s Criminal Division in Camden.

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