By Scott Hammers
The leader of a multimillion dollar crime ring that pulled off 23 jewelery store robberies — including one in Bend — pleaded guilty in federal court Monday.
Michael Young, 42, a resident of both Florida and Salem, entered guilty pleas to charges of conspiracy and interstate transportation of stolen goods in U.S. District Court Judge Marco Hernandez’s Portland courtroom. He faces up to five years in prison for the first charge, and up to 10 years in prison on the second, and he has agreed to pay restitution of $3.4 million. Young is scheduled to be sentenced in November.
The May 2011 robbery of Saxon’s Fine Jewelers in Bend’s Old Mill District was the last of 23 robberies in seven states that netted more than $3.8 million in diamonds and jewelery. Young, along with the two men implicated in the robbery, Ernest Remor and Jack Cannon, were arrested and charged within two months of the Saxon’s incident.
Remor, 39, of Florida, and Cannon, 28, of Georgia, signed off on separate plea deals with federal prosecutors in June and are scheduled to be sentenced in October. Both have agreed to pay substantial restitution, $3.4 million in Remor’s case and $2.5 million for Cannon.
Remor and Cannon were among the most active members of the crime ring. Cannon carried out the actual robbery in 14 of the incidents described in the indictment; Remor did so once, primarily serving as a lookout or driver or by transporting the diamonds to a Philadelphia jeweler who regularly purchased their stolen goods.
Federal court records indicate Remor and Cannon were in Bend for about two weeks before pulling off the heist at Saxon’s. Cannon initially visited the store and asked to speak to an employee who was not at the store. He dropped off a business card with a phone number linked to a disposable cellphone purchased at the Bend Shopko.
On the day of the robbery, Cannon went back to the store. While inspecting a diamond ring and some loose diamonds with a retail value of $151,200, Cannon grabbed the ring and diamonds and fled, climbing into a van waiting outside.
The van was abandoned a few blocks away and was determined to have been stolen in Tigard the day before. A Saxon’s employee identified Cannon as the suspect in a photo lineup arranged by Bend Police, and surveillance footage from Shopko was used to identify Remor as the buyer of the disposable cellphone.
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