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Published On: Thu, Sep 19th, 2019

Philadelphia man, John Karl Smith, gets over 7 years in prison for string of cell phone and pizza store robberies

First Assistant United States Attorney Jennifer Arbittier Williams announced that John Karl Smith, 26, of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania was sentenced to 84 months’ incarceration and three years’ supervised release by United States District Judge Paul S. Diamond for the robbery of multiple businesses in Philadelphia during the summer of 2018.

This Hobbs Act robbery case charged the defendant with entering commercial businesses in North and Northeast Philadelphia during July and August of 2018. He entered each business, approached the clerk, produced a knife, and demanded money. The defendant robbed six businesses during his crime spree – including a corner store, multiple cell phone stores, and a pizza restaurant – and he pled guilty to six counts of Hobbs Act robbery in May 2019.

“The complete disregard that Smith demonstrated for the safety and well-being of others is appalling,” said First Assistant U.S. Attorney Williams. “The employees of these stores were simply doing their jobs, when Smith terrorized them just to make a few bucks. The streets are safer now that the defendant will be spending the next few years behind bars.”

This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. The Department of Justice reinvigorated PSN in 2017 as part of the Department’s renewed focus on targeting violent criminals, directing all U.S. Attorney’s Offices to work in partnership with federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement and the local community to develop effective, locally-based strategies to reduce violent crime.

The case was investigated by the Philadelphia Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Robert E. Eckert.

lady justice with scales

photo/ Sang Hyun Cho

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