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Federal prosecutors have picked up a Williamsburg armed robbery case after an investigation revealed a 28-year-old man and 30-year-old woman allegedly robbed prostitutes at Peninsula area hotels.
A federal grand jury indicted Craig Alexander Brodie and Kimberly Lannytte Gardner April 12.
They are charged with conspiracy to interfere with commerce by robbery, three counts of interference with commerce by robbery, and brandishing a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence, according to court documents filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia.
Authorities believe Brodie, of Newport News, sought out three prostitutes on classified advertising websites Craigslist and Backpage, arranged to meet them at motels or hotels, then robbed them at gunpoint, according to court documents.
Gardner, of Gloucester Point, assisted Brodie by driving him to the three hotels in Newport News and Williamsburg, according to court records.
On some occasions, Brodie sexually assaulted the women while threatening them with the firearm, documents state.
Brodie was originally charged by Williamsburg Police with two counts each of abduction, robbery and the use of a firearm in the commission of a felony, but the were dropped Thursday morning because the case is being taken up in federal court, Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Maureen Kufro said.
The Williamsburg charges stemmed from two robberies at Williamsburg hotels in January, but federal investigators also tied Brodie and Gardner to a Dec. 7 robbery in Newport News, where Brodie allegedly brandished and pointed a firearm at a prostitute and forcibly took cash from her, court documents show.
On Jan. 10, a woman reported to Williamsburg Police that she was waiting for a friend in a motel room in the 3000 block of Richmond Road around 10:10 p.m. when a person knocked on her door.
The woman said a man armed with a handgun forced his way inside her room when she opened the door and demanded money. She gave the man an undetermined amount of cash, and he fled in an unknown direction, police said.
On Jan. 12, a woman at a hotel in the 500 block of York Street told police she was waiting for a friend to stop by when a man displayed a handgun and demanded money, police said.
Court records did not show any scheduled court hearings for Brodie Thursday afternoon.
Gardner is being held in the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service, and is scheduled for a jury trial June 26.
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