3 Long Beach men charged in $2.6M robbery of Beverly Hills jewelry store

A federal grand jury indicted three Long Beach men on Wednesday, Oct. 5, who are accused of participating in the daylight smash-and-grab robbery of a Beverly Hills jewelry store when more than $2.6 million in merchandise was stolen.

The indictment charges Jimmy Lee Vernon III, 31, Ladell Tharpe, 37, and Deshon Bell, 20, with conspiracy and interference with commerce by robbery, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

On March 23, the defendants and other co-conspirators drove in three vehicles from Long Beach to Beverly Hills, according to the indictment.

Once at the jewelry store, Vernon and others allegedly got out of a Kia, smashed glass cases, then stole 19 bracelets, seven pairs of earrings, four necklaces, a pair of obelisks, eight rings and 20 watches, prosecutors said.

Vernon and the others ran out of the store to a nearby alley, leaving behind their Kia — which had been reported stolen out of Long Beach four days before the robbery, according to an affidavit filed with a criminal complaint in L.A. federal court.

Vernon’s cell phone fell out of his sweatpants pocket while he smashed the jewelry store’s window and was found by law enforcement, the affidavit states. Bell is accused of serving as the getaway driver.

On March 25, Tharpe posted on his Instagram account numerous photographs that included large stacks of money and a message praising his “robbery gang,” according to the indictment. Law enforcement arrested the defendants last month.

Vernon is in federal custody; Tharpe is in state custody and expected to be remanded to federal custody in the coming weeks; and Bell was released on $15,000 bond.

If convicted of both charges, each defendant would face up to 20 years in federal prison for each count, prosecutors noted.