FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Jerome Simmons has been getting arrested since he was 14 years old.
By the time he was 16, Broward Sheriff's Office deputies and Fort Lauderdale Police Department officers had arrested him six times. He hadn't even celebrated his 17th birthday when prosecutors charged him for passing a check with insufficient funds and robbery.
It was Simmons' first prison sentence: Four years. He couldn't get his act straight. A few months after he walked out of prison in 2008, he was accused of robbing a bank and was sentenced to nearly six years in prison. He walked out of prison in 2014.
About three years later, detectives said he and three associates decided it was a good idea to dress up as women to go rob jewelry stores in Florida and Georgia. Simmons and two others dressed as women while the other waited in the getaway car, police said.
Authorities believe he and his crew robbed three jewelry stores in 2017 before they got caught during their fourth heist. On the day he got caught, Simmons wore a black wig, a pink tracksuit, dark red lipstick and a light foundation on his skin, police said.
In Florida, he is accused of robbing Class Jewelers in Deerfield Beach and Lily’s Jewelry in Spring Hill three days later. In Georgia, he is accused of robbing Bishop’s Jewelers in Valdosta and LSO Jewelers in Port St. Lucie about two weeks later.
A woman who worked at LSO Jewelers told detectives Simmons pretended to be a customer. He asked to try on a ring before his two accomplices rushed inside the store and locked the door, according to the Port St. Lucie Police Department.
They weren't counting on an off-duty state agent noticing them. When police officers arrived, Simmons ran out the back door. Officers said they found him wearing only his underwear and one sock. He told them he had been robbed. They didn't believe him.
Officers found Christopher Brinson, of Fort Lauderdale, the getaway driver, at a nearby restaurant. Adrian Hardy, of Fort Lauderdale, and Emmory Moore, of Coral Springs, ran as fast as they could.
Hardy broke into a nearby retirement community and kidnapped four Canadians at gunpoint to drive him from Port St. Lucie to Fort Lauderdale. Authorities also caught up to Moore. It wasn't easy. It took three federal agencies and five police departments.
The four men were convicted in March. Simmons was convicted of of two counts of Hobbs Act robbery, two counts of brandishing a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence, and one count of conspiracy to commit Hobbs Act robbery.
U.S. District Judge Kenneth A. Marra sentenced Simmons on Thursday to three consecutive life sentences.
Brinson, 33, was convicted of two counts of Hobbs Act robbery, one count of brandishing a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence, and one count of conspiracy to commit Hobbs Act robbery. Marra sentenced him to 408 months in prison.
Hardy, 34, was convicted of one count of Hobbs Act robbery, two counts of brandishing a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence, one count of conspiracy to commit Hobbs Act robbery, and four counts of kidnapping. Marra sentenced him to 480 months in prison.
Moore, 34, was convicted of one count of Hobbs Act robbery, one count of brandishing a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence, and one count of conspiracy to commit Hobbs Act robbery. Moore was already a convicted felon. Marra sentenced him to two consecutive life sentences.