Another Man Pleads Guilty in Attacks on Jewelers in Orange County

Another Man Pleads Guilty in Attacks on Jewelers in Orange County

Diamond and Jewelry Exchange at 1808 Newport Blvd. in Costa Mesa, Calif., in February 2024. (Google Maps/Screenshot via The Epoch Times)

City News Service

City News Service

4/14/2024

Updated: 4/14/2024

SANTA ANA, Calif.—A 35-year-old man pleaded guilty Friday and was immediately sentenced to 15 years to life in prison for his part in kidnapping and robbing a jeweler in Costa Mesa and attempting to kidnap a jeweler in Yorba Linda.
Leonard Antonyeo Berry pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit a crime, attempted kidnapping to commit a robbery, kidnapping for a robbery, torture, robbery, false imprisonment and battery, all felonies, and admitted sentencing enhancements for the personal use of a gun and inflicting great bodily injury on a victim.
Mr. Berry accepted a plea deal from Orange County Superior Court Judge Larry Yellin. Mr. Berry had 1,811 days credit for time behind bars awaiting trial.
Marvin Antoine Brown, 30, and Cedrick Emillion Reynolds, 33, pleaded guilty on Wednesday. Mr. Reynolds was sentenced to 23 years in prison, and Mr. Brown is scheduled to be sentenced July 11.
The three were charged in connection with abductions Nov. 30, 2019, in Yorba Linda and Dec. 4, 2019, in Costa Mesa.
The three and a fourth unknown suspect drove from San Bernardino to Yorba Linda in Mr. Reynolds’s Toyota Camry on Nov. 30, 2019, prosecutors said in court papers. They parked outside of a jewelry store owner’s home and when he arrived home, two of the defendants grabbed him and attempted to pull him back into his Audi, prosecutors said.
The fourth suspect jumped into the driver’s seat, but when the victim “screamed and fought” for a minute the four suspects fled, prosecutors said.
The victim owned the Watch and Wares store at 40 Plaza Square in Orange, prosecutors said. The victim found a GPS tracking device on his car on July 9, 2019, that was bought by Mr. Berry, prosecutors said.
Four days after that attempted kidnapping, another jewelry store owner was targeted by the defendants, prosecutors said. The owner of Diamond and Jewelry Exchange at 1808 Newport Blvd. in Costa Mesa was closing up shop when two got out of Mr. Reynolds’s car and assaulted the victim, prosecutors said.
The men stuffed the victim, bound him with duct tape and drove off before beating him “severely over the course of the next few hours,” prosecutors said.
Mr. Berry’s car returned to the jewelry store about 9 p.m. and one of the defendants got into the victim’s Mercedes-Benz and drove away along with Mr. Reynolds’s car, prosecutors said. Mr. Reynolds’s car returned a few minutes later and Mr. Reynolds was seen on video surveillance walking toward the store holding the victim’s umbrella, prosecutors said.
Mr. Reynolds and Mr. Brown got into the jewelry store about 10 p.m. and were caught on video surveillance, prosecutors said. They appeared to get in with the victim’s keys, but when they tried to turn off the store alarm it went off, prompting the two men to flee, prosecutors said.
The victim was driven to 2040 E. Dyer Road in Santa Ana where the jewelry store owner was dumped with no shirt and duct tape around his legs, prosecutors said. His attackers took his blue Submariner Rolex watch worth about $20,000 and a gold chain worth about $27,000 as well as a gold ring and some diamonds, prosecutors said.
A tow truck driver found the victim about 11 p.m. The victim was taken to an area hospital where he was treated for a fractured jaw, broken orbital sockets, multiple rib fractures, a cut on his liver and significant bruising all over his body, prosecutors said.
Mr. Reynolds pleaded guilty to torture, conspiracy to commit a crime, attempted kidnapping to commit robbery, kidnapping for robbery, robbery, false imprisonment and battery with serious bodily injury, all felonies. He also admitted sentencing enhancements for inflicting great bodily injury on the victim.
Mr. Brown pleaded guilty to kidnapping to commit robbery, robbery, false imprisonment and battery with serious bodily injury, all felonies. He also admitted sentencing enhancements for inflicting great bodily injury on the victim.
Mr. Berry is charged with conspiracy to commit a crime, attempted kidnapping to commit robbery, kidnapping for robbery, torture, robbery, false imprisonment and battery, all felonies.
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