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Queens Man Charged with Eight Robberies of Grocery Stores and Other Businesses

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 A complaint was unsealed today in federal court in Brooklyn charging Manuel Guzman Breton with eight counts of Hobbs Act robbery in connection with the robberies of eight grocery stores, laundromats, and other businesses during the month of April 2021.  An employee was injured during one of the robberies.

Mark J. Lesko, Acting United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, John B. DeVito, Special Agent-in-Charge, U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), and Dermot F. Shea, Commissioner, New York City Police Department (NYPD), announced the arrest and charges. 

“As alleged, Guzman Breton embarked on a one-man crime spree to rob and terrorize hard-working store clerks and employees while armed with a knife or a boxcutter,” stated Acting U.S. Attorney Lesko.  “This Office and our partners at the ATF and the NYPD relentlessly pursued this serial armed robber and, by bringing him to justice, stopped him from inflicting further harm on businesses in our communities.”  Mr. Lesko expressed his appreciation to the NYPD detectives and ATF special agents assigned to the ATF/NYPD Robbery Task Force for their investigative work.

“ATF is committed to the investigation and prosecution of violent and dangerous offenders in order to make our communities safer,” stated ATF Special Agent-in-Charge DeVito.  “The defendant’s alleged violent crime spree has been stopped as a result of that commitment.  We thank the NYPD and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for their continued partnership and their dedication to the safety of New York City’s residents and businesses.”

As set forth in the complaint and as captured on video surveillance, between April 7, 2021 and April 27, 2021, Guzman Breton, wearing a hooded sweatshirt, committed a spree of robberies in which he entered each store, threatened employees with a knife or boxcutter, and stole thousands of dollars from his victims.  An employee of a laundromat suffered cuts on the hand trying to wrest a knife away from the defendant during one of the robberies.

The charges in the indictment are allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.  If convicted, Guzman Breton faces up to 20 years in prison.

The complaint charges Guzman Breton with the following robberies, all in Queens:

  • Grocery store on Corona Avenue in Corona on April 7, 2021.
  • Grocery store on 74th Street in Jackson Heights on April 10, 2021.
  • Grocery store on Astoria Boulevard in East Elmhurst on April 12, 2021.
  • Grocery store on Roosevelt Avenue in Woodside on April 16, 2021.
  • Grocery store on Hampton Street in Elmhurst on April 19, 2021.
  • Laundromat on 81st Street in Jackson Heights on April 25, 2021.
  • Laundromat on Elmhurst Avenue in Elmhurst on April 26, 2021.
  • Clothing store on 37th Avenue in Jackson Heights on April 27, 2021.

The government’s case is being handled by the Office’s General Crimes Section.  Assistant United States Attorney Ellen H. Sise is in charge of the prosecution.

The Defendant:

Age:  31
Queens, New York

E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 21-MJ-603


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