Most local robberies are handled by local law enforcement official, but the recent robberies of two Cash Stores has landed in federal court. The reasons for the unexpected allegations of federal crimes has not been explained, but the Hobbs Act provides a likely explanation.
The suspect has been charged with robbing two Cash Stores in the St. Louis metro-east area on Sept. 7 and Sept. 29. A spokesman for the federal court did not know why the case was not being handled in state court. He suggested that the Hobbs Act provides federal jurisdiction for trying certain crimes involving robbery, if interstate commerce is involved. The suspect has been charged with two counts of interference with interstate commerce by robbery, and he faces up to 20 years in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000 for each count.
The Hobbs Act was passed by Congress in 1946 to combat racketeering in labor-management disputes, but its reach has lengthened to apply to public corruption, commercial disputes and public corruption. The alleged theft must somehow affect interstate commerce. In this case, the suspect may have been hired by a competitor as a means of harming Cash Stores’ business or in connection with a labor-management dispute. The exact reason for the federal charges will not be known until the suspect’s arraignment.
The charges in this case are substantial as indicated by the potential sentences. Anyone facing similarly serious criminal charges may benefit from consulting a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney for advice. An experienced defense lawyer can evaluate the charges and may be able suggest potential defenses. If appropriate, a defense attorney can assist in negotiating a favorable plea agreement.