Beverly Hills Watch Bandits Get Lots of Time

The trio of perpetrators get a dozen years for gunpoint robbery that left one patron shot
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A trio of suspected gangmembers who committed what a federal judge called an “outrageous and unacceptable” masked gunpoint robbery on the crowded patio of the famed Il Pastaio in Beverly Hills that left a woman shot in the leg were sentenced to federal prison on Monday.

The brazen 2 pm heist last March took place at the celebrity-filled Hollywood mainstay on North Canon Drive after three men, who federal prosecutors called documented members of the Rollin’ 30s Crips street gang, drove around Beverly Hills in a black BMW looking for a target and found one – a man wearing a Robert Mille watch worth roughly a half-million dollars dining on the patio.

Federal prosecutors said Malik Lamont Powell, 21, and Khai McGhee, 18, a.k.a. “Cameron Smith,” pulled on masks and rushed the patio while Marquise Anthony Gardon, 41, waited in the getaway car. McGhee held a gun to the watch wearer’s head as Powell pulled the pricey timepiece from his wrist, prosecutors said. The victim put up a fight and managed to wrestle the gun away from the bangers and in the chaos two shots were fired. One of those bullets ricocheted and careened into a woman dining with her husband. 

“A struggle for the gun ensued, and at least two rounds were discharged from the firearm, one of which struck another restaurant patron in the leg. The gun was left at the scene, but the robbers fled with the watch, which was worth approximately $500,000,” federal prosecutors said.

McGhee’s DNA was found on the robbery victim’s clothing following the struggle for the gun, according to a federal search warrant affidavit. CCTV video seized around the Beverly Hills Triangle puts the gang members at the scene of the robbery.

Surveillance camera footage, prosecutors say, shows Gardon getting out of the rear passenger seat before the robbery and sliding into the driver’s seat of the getaway car idling outside the eatery. His cell phone also pinged near the restaurant at the time of the robbery.

Powell was caught after he posted photos of himself wearing the stolen watch, along with other expensive items and guns, on social media, prosecutors say. 

The Crips members were arrested by the FBI and Beverly Hills Police last May. Powell and McGhee pleaded guilty in September 2021 to three felony counts: conspiracy to interfere with commerce by robbery, interference with commerce by robbery, and using and discharging a firearm during a crime of violence. 

Both were sentenced to a dozen years behind bars by United States District Judge John F. Walter, who said: “These types of robberies, which are becoming more and more prevalent in our community, have to stop.”  Gardon, 41, pleaded guilty in September 2021 to two felonies: interference with commerce by robbery, and using and discharging a firearm during a crime of violence. Gardon is scheduled to be sentenced on February 28 by Judge Walter.


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