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Tilton chief: Calif. gang came to New Hampshire 'just to commit armed robberies'

New Hampshire Union Leader

August 31. 2012 9:11AM

This is one of the still images from a surveillance camera of robbers hitting a Kay Jewelers store last November. 

TILTON - Police have arrested a California man in connection with a brazen robbery at the Kay Jewelers store at the Tanger Outlets last year.

Cpl. Merek Weisensee said Delano Nelson of Los Angeles, was arrested July 20 by the FBI and Los Angeles Police Department. He was brought back to New Hampshire recently and indicted on robbery charges.

On Nov. 4, 2011, three men wearing Halloween masks, jeans and hooded sweatshirts calmly executed the robbery and made off with $200,000 in gold and diamond jewelry from the Kay Jewelers at the Tanger Outlet shortly before 8 p.m.

After entering the jewelry store, the robbers ordered four customers and three store employees to the floor. One was armed with a handgun. The other two used hammers to smash glass cases containing high-end gold and jewelry. When the thieves couldn't break through a laminated case holding diamond jewelry, they threatened to return for the jewels.

The robbery took only about two minute but the investigation has taken the better part of a year and eventually connected the same out-of-state gang with two other robberies, Hannoush Jewelers and Northeast Credit Union.

Tilton Police Chief Robert Cormier is relieved the robbers are off the street.

"It's been a long road to get here, but I am so relieved to get this robbery gang in custody, I don't believe they would have stopped had they not been caught and they certainly were a danger to the public," he said.

Four others have pleaded guilty for their roles in the robbery, Weisensee said. One was a New Hampshire woman, Katie T. Falls, 29, who admitted to serving as a getaway driver in the Kay Jewelers robbery. Walter Williams, 44, of Compton, Calif.,. pled guilty to the armed robbery of Kay Jewelers Robbery, Hannoush Jewelers and the Northeast Credit Union. His sentencing hearing is scheduled for Nov. 26. Shylo Johnson, 25, pled guilty to the Northeast Credit Union and the Kay Jewelers robbery. Prince Sage, 27, pled guilty to the Northeast Credit Union robbery and his sentencing is scheduled for Sept. 12.

The FBI provided crucial assistance over the past 10 months, the chief said.

"I can't thank the FBI enough for all their assistance with this case over the last ten months," Cormier said. "They teamed up with us all most immediately and stayed by our side though the whole case. Also, thank you to all the other agencies from New Hampshire and California who worked so hard to help us."

Describing it as one of the most toughest cases Tilton police have faced, involving thousands of hours of investigation, the chief expressed pride in his detectives. The evidence eventually lead Tilton detectives to a ring of robbery suspects from Southern California who came to New Hampshire from the Los Angeles area just to commit armed robberies.

"I want to say a special thanks to my detectives who put so many long days and nights into this case to put it together," Cormier said. "It was probably one of the most challenging cases of their career and they handled it like true professionals."

Below are links to video downloads of the robbery. Click on the image for the video from that camera:
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