Columbian man extradited for $1 million McCandless jewelry caper
A Columbian man is accused in a conspiracy to steal about $1 million worth of jewelry and gems from a traveling salesmen outside a McCandless store in 2013.
Oscar Javier Rodriguez Roa, 35, of Bogota, Columbia, was arraigned in Pittsburgh federal court Thursday afternoon, according to U.S. Attorney Scott W. Brady.
Roa was returned to Pittsburgh Wednesday night.
The indictment against Roa was unsealed on Thursday, following a lengthy extradition process, Brady said.
Several other men allegedly took part in the robbery, but only Roa was named in the federal documents made public.
According to police, Roa and the others smashed a window of a vehicle in which the New York-based salesman was sitting and forcibly grabbed his shoulder bag. One of the men allegedly had a knife, Northern Regional Police said the day of the 4:30 p.m. robbery outside Graffner Bros. Jewelry Store along Perry Highway.
Roa is accused of then leaving the United States.
Roa is charged with one count of conspiracy to commit robbery and one count of robbery “by means of actual and threatened force, violence and fear of injury.”
“The extradition of Roa to the U.S. to face these charges demonstrates our enduring commitment to prosecute and bring to justice violent criminals, regardless of where they hide,” Brady declared.
“I want to commend the work of the Northern Regional Police Department and the FBI in investigating this case.”
“This case goes to show that, no matter how long it takes, the FBI will work to get justice for the victims,” said Robert Jones, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Pittsburgh Field Office. “The FBI has well-connected resources and intelligence around the world. The cooperation with our local, national and international partners should send a message to those committing crimes that we will find you.”
“As police chief, I appreciate the assistance and the cooperation between our local police department and all of the federal agencies who worked to identify this defendant and return him to the United States,” added Northern Regional Police Chief T. Robert Amann.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Charles A. Eberle of the U.S. Attorney’s Office and Trial Attorney Leshia Lee-Dixon of the Criminal Division’s Organized Crime and Gang Section in the Justice Department are prosecuting the case.
Chuck Biedka is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Chuck at 724-226-4711, [email protected] or via Twitter @ChuckBiedka.