Jewelry store robbers get 5-year prison sentences

Police investigate a smash-and-grab robbery at Maxon's Diamond Merchants on Sept. 1, 2016. (Tim Leimkuhler)
Police investigate a smash-and-grab robbery at Maxon's Diamond Merchants on Sept. 1, 2016. (Tim Leimkuhler)
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. - Two men from Detroit received five-year federal prison sentences on Thursday after pleading guilty for robbing a jewelry store in Springfield.
Justin Anderson, 33, and Mark Pitts, 32, will not be eligible for parole.

Anderson and Pitts made separate appearances before U.S. District Judge Beth Phillips. The judge also ordered them to pay $78,374, for which they are jointly and severally liable.

Anderson and Pitts each pleaded guilty to robbing Maxon’s Diamond Merchants, 2622 S. Glenstone Ave. Last Sept. 1, a store employee buzzed in a man through the secured front door of the jewelry store. When the man entered the store, he refused to close the front door.

Employees approached the man and told him to close the door. When he refused to shut the door, the employees attempted to push him out of the store. The man then shoved an employee as he kept the front door open.

Anderson and Pitts then entered the store. They pulled out small sledgehammers, causing employees to retreat from the front of the store out of fear of being harmed. Anderson and Pitts used the sledgehammers to break the glass counters and display cases that contained Rolex watches.

Anderson and Pitts then grabbed several Rolex watches and fled from the store with 11 Rolex watches, valued at a total of $118,000. They dropped a couple of Rolex watches as they fled.

Cell phone video from a store employee showed the getaway car – a 2000 Dodge Stratus that had been stolen from the Target department store parking lot that day – waiting for the three men. Anderson and Pitts, however, failed to escape in the getaway car, which left the scene without them. Pitts was arrested after store employees who followed him took police officers to his location in the residential neighborhood east of the store.

Pitts told officers that he did not specifically threaten an employee of Maxon’s Diamond Merchants, but said, if they had actively resisted the robbery, he would have used his sledgehammer to physically assault them.

Investigators have not said if they know the name of the first man who entered the store. He has not been charged.

The FBI and the Springfield Police Department investigated the robbery.

Justin Anderson (Michigan Department of Corrections)
Mark PItts (Greene County jail)
Mark PItts (Greene County jail)