Two masked gunman committed an armed robbery of a Hingham jewelry store at closing time last evening. Both men, one with a handgun and the other with a shotgun, cornered the store owner and employees at the back door as they were leaving, forcing them back inside and emptied the safe. If caught, both men face charges of Kidnapping and Masked Armed Robbery.
At one point, the store’s alarm company called after the alarm had been triggered, but with a gun pointing at him, the store’s owner told the alarm company that everything was OK. After two 911 calls by store employees, police surrounded the building, but the suspects had already fled. The only leads reported were that one of the men had on a M&M’s candies jacket, and that they escaped in a gray 2005 Toyota Camry.
Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 265, Section 26 defines Kidnapping as forcible or secret confinement of another against his will. The maximum penalty for Kidnapping in Massachusetts is ‘any term of years’ up to life imprisonment.
Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 265, Section 17 defines Masked Armed Robbery as, while being armed with a dangerous weapon, stealing from another money or property while having his features artificially distorted or disguised. The maximum penalty for Masked Armed Robbery is a minimum-mandatory sentence of five years in state prison, up to life imprisonment.
Because of the nature of this crime, i.e., that the purported criminals were masked, capture and prosecution of these persons will not be easy for the prosecution. Even with the ultimate seizure of the vehicle that was used in this Armed Robbery, an identification defense at trial of the persons ultimately arrested will be central at any future trial.
I have tried similar cases in Suffolk Superior Court, and even where the person was captured at the scene of the purported crime, I have managed to obtain acquittals on Armed Robbery Charges. Along with the elements of a crime, the identification of the defendant as the perpetrator is the prosecutor’s burden to prove at trial beyond a reasonable doubt.
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