Three gang members have been arrested on federal charges alleging they committed the Il Pastaio armed robbery at the Beverly Hills celebrity restaurant’s crowded outdoor dining area in which a customer was held at gunpoint, another was struck by gunfire, and a $500,000 watch was taken, authorities said Wednesday.
The complaint, made public on Tuesday, charges the South Los Angeles residents — Malik L. Powell, 20; Khai “Cameron Smith” McGhee, 18; and Marquise A. Gardon, 30 — with one count of conspiracy to interfere with commerce by robbery, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
The documented gang members were arrested Tuesday and were expected to make their initial appearances Wednesday afternoon in U.S. District Court in downtown Los Angeles, officials said.
On March 4, at about 2:10 p.m., officers were called to Il Pastaio, a celebrity hangout at Brighton Way and North Canon Drive, on a report of a robbery with gunfire, and arrived to find a woman who had been shot.
The victim, who was not the intended target, was taken to the hospital with non life-threatening injuries, according to a spokesman for the Beverly Hills Police Department.
During the robbery, a restaurant patron was held at gunpoint while he was robbed of his Richard Mille wristwatch, worth about $500,000, according to a criminal complaint filed in federal court.
A struggle for the gun ensued, during which two rounds were discharged from the firearm, striking the woman in the leg. The handgun was dropped during the struggle and the robbers fled the scene with the victim’s watch, the complaint stated.
Based on a review of video surveillance footage and witness statements, five individuals are believed to be involved in the robbery crew, an affidavit filed with the complaint states.
Law enforcement officials identified Powell and McGhee as two of the three robbers, and Gardon has been identified as a driver of the crew’s getaway car, according to the affidavit.
Powell’s car — a black BMW — allegedly was used to bring the crew to and from the robbery, and his cell phone allegedly was present near Il Pastaio at the time of the robbery. Powell’s social media accounts allegedly contained images of various guns and high-value wristwatches.
McGhee’s DNA was found on the robbery victim’s clothing following the struggle for the gun, the affidavit alleges. Surveillance footage allegedly shows Gardon getting out of the rear passenger seat and into the driver’s seat of the getaway car just before the robbery, and his cell phone allegedly was present near the restaurant at the time of the robbery.
Officials also said surveillance footage shows the men scouting the area prior to the robbery.
If convicted, the defendants would each face up to 20 years in federal prison.
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