TRENTON – Acting Attorney General Robert Lougy announced that two Camden men have been indicted by a state grand jury on charges that they committed eight armed robberies at 7-Eleven stores in Camden, Burlington and Mercer counties in the first six months of 2014, including a robbery in Pennsauken in which the clerk was shot four times.
The Division of Criminal Justice Gangs & Organized Crime Bureau obtained a 34-count state grand jury indictment yesterday charging Charles L. Walls, 33, and Anthony T. Ervin, 25, both of Camden. Both men are charged with first-degree attempted murder in connection with an armed robbery that occurred at a 7-Eleven on Westfield Avenue in Pennsauken at about 12:45 a.m. on Jan. 10, 2014. During the robbery, a 28-year-old clerk from Paulsboro was shot four times, leaving him paralyzed. A third man who took part in that robbery has not been identified. Walls and Ervin also face eight counts of first-degree robbery.
Walls and Ervin allegedly committed seven additional armed robberies of 7-Eleven stores between April 27 and June 13, 2014. In two of the robberies – which were committed on the same day, May 27, 2014, in Hamilton Township (Mercer County) and Medford Lakes – they allegedly were assisted by a third man. In each robbery, the men used similar methods. They struck during the early morning hours and wore masks, hooded sweatshirts and gloves. One man always was armed with a handgun and held the clerk at gunpoint, while the other man or men stole the cash from the register and cigarettes. In four instances, the robbers used zip ties to restrain store clerks. The robbers drove to the stores in a reddish orange Chevrolet Sonic.
The men were arrested in a multi-agency investigation coordinated by the Camden County Prosecutor’s Office. Walls was arrested on June 13, 2014 at his apartment. Detectives executed search warrants for the apartment and for a reddish orange Chevrolet Sonic that was located at the apartment and was used by Walls. They found a Ruger .40-caliber handgun in the apartment, along with packs of cigarettes, other tobacco products, and footwear and clothing items consistent with those worn in the robberies. Latex gloves and zip ties were found in the car. Ervin was arrested on Oct. 8, 2014.
“We charge that these two men heartlessly gunned down a young store clerk in Pennsauken and continued to terrorize 7-Eleven clerks for the next five months in armed robberies at seven more stores,” said Acting Attorney General Lougy. “It took a collaborative multi-agency investigation to halt these dangerous criminals, and with this indictment we intend to keep them safely behind bars.”
“The violent crime spree allegedly perpetrated by Walls and Ervin spanned seven municipalities and three counties, but by joining forces, the law enforcement agencies in these jurisdictions quickly caught the defendants in their dragnet,” said Director Elie Honig of the Division of Criminal Justice. “This is an excellent example of sharing intelligence and resources to achieve results.”
“The cooperation between the multiple law enforcement agencies allowed for the detectives to share information leading to the charges today,” said Camden County Prosecutor Mary Eva Colalillo.
The following agencies conducted the investigation:
Bureau Chief Lauren Scarpa Yfantis and Deputy Bureau Chief Erik Daab are supervising the prosecution for the Division of Criminal Justice Gangs & Organized Crime Bureau. Detective Vince McCalla coordinated the investigation for the Camden County Prosecutor’s Office.
Walls and Ervin are each charged in the indictment with attempted murder (1st degree), aggravated assault (two counts, 2nd and 3rd degree), conspiracy (2nd degree), eight counts of robbery (1st degree), eight counts of unlawful possession of a weapon (2nd degree), eight counts of possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose (2nd degree), four counts of criminal restraint (3rd degree), and possession of a weapon as a convicted felon (2nd degree).
They are charged in connection with the following robberies:
The charge of first-degree attempted murder and each of the first-degree robbery counts carry a sentence of 10 to 20 years in state prison, with a period of parole ineligibility equal to 85 percent of the sentence imposed, and a fine of up to $200,000. Second-degree charges carry a sentence of five to 10 years in state prison and a fine of up to $150,000. The second-degree charge of possession of a weapon as a convicted felon also carries a mandatory period of five years of parole ineligibility. Third-degree charges carry a sentence of three to five years in state prison and a fine of up to $15,000.
The indictment is merely an accusation and the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.
The indictment was handed up to Superior Court Judge Mary C. Jacobson in Mercer County, who assigned the case to Camden County, where the defendants will be ordered to appear in court at a later date for arraignment.