NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) - Two Virginia women were sentenced in Newport News Wednesday for their part in a violent and highly sophisticated jewelry theft ring.
U.S. District Judge Arenda L. Wright Allen sentenced 34-year-old Lucesita Argueta of Richmond to 9 years in prison and 44-year-old Juanita Diaz of Henrico, Va. to 1 year home confinement, according to Margaret Jahn with the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Virginia.
According to court documents, Argueta and Diaz were two of eight members of a Richmond-based crime ring with ties to the "South American Theft Group" or "SATG." STAG members are typically Colombian Nationals that work in teams to steal "jewelry, gems and precious metals. Instead of jewelry stores or customers, the thieves target jewelry couriers and salesmen, who sometimes carry hundreds of thousands of dollars in jewelry at a time.
The Richmond group was arrested in March 2012 at their Richmond homes after the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms connected the dots between violent jewelry robberies in Virginia Beach, Williamsburg and York County.
Investigators say the group stole more than $4.6 million in gold and gems in Virginia and at least four other states. A few of their Hampton Roads victims were Long Jewelers in Virginia Beach and a jewelry courier parked in the garage of the Fairfield Inn at the Oceanfront.
For more information about the case and sentencing of the six other codefendants, click here.
Witnesses tell WAVY.com the attack of a shopper was the cause of a heavy police presence at the Ross department store at Military Circle in Norfolk Wednesday night.
State officials say construction on a new Bonner Bridge has been delayed for years because of a legal battle with an environmental group.
Michelle Price with Newport News Public Schools told WAVY.com at least three city school buses ran substantially late Wednesday afternoon, delivering children home several hours after dismissal.
Plans to enhance a popular park in Smithfield are on hold. Some people say City Council is trying to commercialize a natural and historic treasure, and leave them out of the loop.
Drivers traveling between Hatteras Island and the mainland were forced to use an emergency ferry Wednesday, following the sudden closure of the Bonner Bridge Tuesday.
Hampton Fire units arrived at the scene of a residential fire in the 3800 block of Shell Road just after 6 p.m.
A police standoff at a Newport News home turned deadly Wednesday evening.