Getaway driver in New Bern robbery sentenced to 10 years in prison

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Friday, June 2, 2023
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RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- A New Bern man was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison Thursday after facing charges in connection with an armed robbery.

According to court documents, 31-year-old Justin Pickens and two others, Quamaime Donnell Smith and Francesco Greco Jr., planned an armed robbery at the Five Points gas station in New Bern on May 17, 2021. Footage from a surveillance camera shows Smith armed with a gun and another suspect with a tire iron enter the store. Smith was also seen hitting the store clerk in the head with his gun. The two suspects then emptied the cash register and left the store in a getaway car driven by Pickens.

New Bern police arrested the three suspects less than 24 hours after the robbery. Officials estimated the suspects stole almost $3,000 in cash from the store.

"Brutal armed robberies like this one leave victims traumatized for years, and sometimes with lifelong physical limitations. This gas station attendant was not just held up, he was pistol-whipped in the head. Hardworking people should never be subjected to violence just for doing their jobs," said U.S. Attorney Michael Easley.

Pickens was charged with interference with commerce by robbery and aiding and abetting in 2022. He pleaded guilty in February of 2023.

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