A New Jersey man was taken into federal custody Tuesday for allegedly committing six armed robberies in hotels.
Forty-two-year-old Tremone Burnett of Orange. also known by eight other names, is charged with six counts of committing a Hobbs Act robbery and one count of using a firearm during a crime of violence, announced U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman in a news release.
One of the robberies occured in an unidentified hotel in western New Jersey's Hunterdon County.
Burnett was expected to appear Tuesday afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge Cathy L. Waldor in federal court in Newark.
According to the criminal complaint, from May 9 through June 19 Burnett robbed at least six New Jersey hotels at gunpoint: in Carteret, Lebanon, Newark, Rockaway, and Secaucus.
In each of the robberies, Burnett pointed a handgun at a hotel employee and, in some instances, tied the victim’s hands and feet.
During the course of the robberies, Burnett also stole uncashed employee checks, safe deposit boxes, an ATM, and a personal credit card in addition to cash.
According to the ciriminal complaint, at 2:05 a.m. June 8, Burnett entered a hotel
in the borough of Lebanon, Hunterdon County.
He approached a hotel clerk and requested a guest room. The employee told him no rooms were available. Burnett then then asked to use a restroom, so the clerk told him where it was located.
Instead of going to the restroom, the defendant walked behind the front desk, pointed a black handgun at the clerk and demanded money. He directed the clerk into a back office, tied the victim's feet and hands, and instructed the person to sit in a corner of the office.
Soon after, an unknown co-conspirator entered the office. Burnett and the co-conspirator stole about $500 and a safe-deposit box that was located in the office, then departed.
The hotel employee later identified Burnett as the individual who committed the robbery.
Each of the Hobbs Act charges carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.
The charge of brandishing a firearm during a crime of violence carries a maximum penalty of life in prison and a mandatory minimum sentence of seven years in prison, which must run consecutively to any other prison term.
Each count also carries a maximum fine of $250,000, or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense.
Burnett previously was charged with related offenses by the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office and has been in state custody.
Fishman credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Aaron T. Ford in Newark, with the investigation leading to the charges, along with the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office and Newark Police Department.
He also credited the Carteret, Edison, Lebanon, Rockaway, Parsippany, Weehawken and Woodbridge Township police departments in New Jersey; and the Clarkstown and Ramapo police departments in New York – along with the New Jersey State Police and the Bergen County, Hunterdon County, Middlesex County and Morris County prosecutors’ offices for their work on this case.
"On behalf of the citizens of Hunterdon County, and especially Lebanon borough, I would like to commend the efforts of the investigators involved in this case," said Hunterdon County Prosecutor Anotherony P. Kearns III.
"The early collaboration among our law enforcement partners --- including the FBI, the New Jersey State Police, the Hunterdon County Prosecutor’s Office, the other county prosecutor’s offices, and the various local police agencies involved --- was paramount in the successful apprehension of Mr. Burnett.
"We are grateful for the support and assistance of the U. S. Attorney’s Office and the Department of Justice as this case moves forward."
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Barry A. Kamar of the U.S. Attorney’s Office General Crimes Unit in Newark.