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Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
District of Connecticut
For Immediate Release
Vanessa Roberts Avery, United States Attorney
www.justice.gov/usao-ct
Thursday, September 28, 2023

New Haven Teen Admits Assisting Armed Robbery of North Haven Gas Station

Vanessa Roberts Avery, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that Robert Smith, also known as “Robbie,” 19, of New Haven, pleaded guilty today before U.S. District Judge Kari A. Dooley in Bridgeport to offenses related to his role in the gunpoint robbery of a North Haven gas station last year.

According to court documents and statements made in court, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the New Haven Police Department investigators identified an individual who is alleged to have committed a series of gunpoint robberies and a carjacking that occurred in late June and early July 2022. The investigation revealed that Smith assisted the individual commit an armed robbery of a Shell Gas Station located at 195 State Street in North Haven on July 6, 2022.

Smith pleaded guilty to one count of aiding and abetting Hobbs Act robbery, which carries a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years, and one count of aiding and abetting the carrying, using, and brandishing a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence, which carries a mandatory consecutive term of imprisonment of at least seven years.

Smith has been detained since January 3, 2023.

This matter is being investigated by the ATF with the assistance of the New Haven, East Haven, West Haven, Ansonia, and North Haven Police Departments. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Nathaniel J. Gentile and Sean P. Mahard.

U.S. Attorney Avery thanked the State’s Attorneys for the Judicial Districts of New Haven and Ansonia/Milford for their cooperation in investigating and prosecuting this matter.

The prosecution is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and gun violence, and to make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. In May 2021, the Justice Department launched a violent crime reduction strategy strengthening PSN based on these core principles: fostering trust and legitimacy in our communities, supporting community-based organizations that help prevent violence from occurring in the first place, setting focused and strategic enforcement priorities and measuring the results.

U.S. Attorney Avery stressed that an indictment is not evidence of guilt. Charges are only allegations, and Smith’s co-defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

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