CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - A 35-year-old California man was convicted in federal court in connection to a downtown Charleston jewelry heist where $700,000 worth of merchandise was stolen.
Charles Eloys Johnson of San Leandro was convicted following a four day trial in Charleston.
According to federal officials, testimony developed during trial showed that Johnson and others traveled from Atlanta to rob Sylvan Jewelers in Columbia on Feb. 19, 2015 and MP Demetre Jewelers in Charleston on March 4, 2015.
A press release states Johnson was convicted of five separate counts, one count of conspiracy to commit robbery affecting interstate commerce, two counts of robbery affecting interstate commerce, and two counts of brandishing a firearm during a violent crime.
Two other defendants are still awaiting trial.
Authorities say two male subjects, one armed with a hammer and the other with a gun, robbed Demetre Jewelers in Charleston at 11:23 a.m. on March 4.
According to police, one of the suspects ordered an employee to the ground, while the other broke the case and stole Rolex watches.
The hammer was used to smash a showcase, said CPD spokesman Charles Francis.
Charleston police recovered a van, a green, two-tone Pontiac Montana, they say was used in the robbery. The van was located in downtown Charleston on 30 Coming Street.
The conspiracy and robbery counts each carry up to twenty years imprisonment and the gun charges carry a mandatory consecutive five years plus twenty-five years imprisonment.
The conviction is the result of an investigation conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigations, City of Charleston Police Department and Columbia Police Department.
Acting United States Attorney Beth Drake and Assistant United States Attorney Nathan Williams prosecuted the case.