A Gordonsville man accused of going on a robbery spree in the summer 2020 that spanned Charlottesville, Albemarle County and Stafford County pleaded guilty to federal Hobbs Act robbery charges, U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Virginia announced Friday.
Dominique Dejone Thurston, 23, was arrested in September 2020 in connection with a robbery of a 7-Eleven in northern Albemarle County in which a clerk at the store was assaulted. The other robberies included the Oak Hill Market in Albemarle County, 7-Eleven on Ivy Road in Charlottesville, a BP gas station convenience store in Charlottesville, 7-Eleven on Greenbrier Drive in Albemarle County, Kangaroo Gas in Albemarle County, and 7-Day Junior Store in Charlottesville.
During each robbery, Thurston brandished a firearm while pointing it at a store employee and demanding cash, according to the news release.
Thurston pleaded guilty to seven counts of Hobbs Act robbery as well as two counts of brandishing and possessing a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence. The Hobbs Act prohibits actual or attempted robbery or extortion affecting interstate or foreign commerce in any way or degree.
Thurston will be sentenced Jan. 31, 2022, according to the release. Thurston’s federal trial was delayed earlier this year in order to give the defense more time to prepare.
“This case serves as a perfect example of when federal, state, and local law enforcement work together to help address violent crime,” U.S. Attorney Christopher R. Kavanaugh said in the release. “The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Virginia is dedicated to investigating and prosecuting the most violent offenders in our communities.”
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives investigated the case along with the Albemarle County Police Department, the City of Charlottesville Police Department, the City of Charlottesville Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office, and the Stafford County Sheriff’s Office.
Before Thurston was arrested, ATF joined the investigation and had offered a $5,000 reward.
“This investigation is a great example of law enforcement collaboration at its best,” ATF Special Agent in Charge Charlie J. Patterson said in the release. “… The ATF Washington Field Division will continue to stand alongside our partners to ensure our communities are protected against people that commit acts of violence.”