DOJ Seal

Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
Eastern District of New York

For Immediate Release

Friday, August 11, 2017
Bridget M. Rohde
, United States Attorney
Contact: John Marzulli

Brooklyn Man Sentenced to 10 Years’ Imprisonment for 11 Robberies of Cell Phone Stores in Brooklyn and Queens

Defendant Recruited Teenagers For His Robbery Crew

Earlier today at the federal courthouse in Brooklyn, United States District Judge LaShann DeArcy Hall sentenced the defendant Arthur Sam to 10 years’ imprisonment for his role in 11 robberies of cell phone stores in Brooklyn and Queens. Sam, also known as “16,” had previously pled to Hobbs Act robbery conspiracy. The sentence also included a term of three years of supervised release and $304,179 in restitution. 

The sentence was announced by Bridget M. Rohde, Acting United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, Ashan M. Benedict, Special Agent-in-Charge, New York Field Division, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), and James P. O’Neill, Commissioner, New York City Police Department (NYPD).

According to court filings, between April 15, 2015 and December 8, 2015, members of Sam’s robbery crew restrained and threatened store employees and customers by pretending to have a firearm or brandishing an imitation firearm. The co-conspirators then fled on foot or to a waiting vehicle, which on one occasion resulted in a high-speed chase and a car crash. Sam used, among others, teenage minors to commit these robberies while he watched nearby from inside his BMW sedan. During the commission of some of the robberies, Sam maintained telephone contact with the participants so he could monitor what was occurring inside the store. Sam and his co-conspirators stole cell telephones and other merchandise with a total value of more than $300,000 from the stores. Four other members of Sam’s crew who pled guilty in this matter remain to be sentenced.

“As charged, Arthur Sam and his co-conspirators committed numerous robberies of cell phone stores in Brooklyn and Queens, terrifying employees and customers alike,” stated Acting United States Attorney Rohde. “Through the cooperative efforts of federal and local law enforcement, we have brought Sam to justice and will be vigilant in pursuing others who would place our community in fear.”

Arthur Sam ran an organized robbery crew responsible for the theft of approximately $300,000 in cell phones and other electronics from nearly a dozen stores over a four-month period in 2015,” stated ATF Special Agent-in-Charge Benedict. The stolen items would be sold to an intermediary who would send them overseas. These thefts all occurred under the threat of force while crew members brandished imitation firearms, and with Sam carefully monitoring and orchestrating the brazen robberies as they occurred. All members of the conspiracy have pled guilty and Sam is the first to be sentenced. His sentence today sends a powerful message that violent crime and threats of force will not be tolerated. I would like to extend my gratitude to the ATF special agents, NYPD detectives, and prosecutors for their hard work on this investigation.

The defendant in this case recruited teenage accomplices and committed about a dozen robberies in Brooklyn and Queens in 2015,” stated NYPD Commissioner O’Neill. “Numerous victims were made to fear for their lives as the cellphone stores where they worked were held up by these perpetrators, who simulated firearms or displayed imitation pistols. I want to thank the members of the NYPD and its partners who worked to make the arrests and secure the guilty pleas in order to bring today’s sentencing.”

The government’s case is being handled by the Office’s General Crimes Section. Assistant United States Attorneys Nomi D. Berenson and David Gopstein are in charge of the prosecution.


The Defendant:



Age: 37

Residence: Brooklyn, New York


E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 16-CR-21 (S-1) (LDH)

New York Field Division