'Cross-dressing' gang faces federal charges in failed conspiracy to rob jewelry stores

Group of accused burglars pleads not guilty, waits for January trial

By Andrea Torres - Digital Reporter/Producer

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. - A group of burglars donning red lipstick and wearing wigs, black gloves and women's clothes failed miserably. Their disguise was so obvious that before they walked into the LSO Jewelers, an off-duty police officer spotted them. 

One of the burglars, who was wearing a pink jumpsuit, told a jewelry store employee that they were looking for an engagement ring. Once the store was closed, he pointed a gun to her head, and used a walkie-talkie to communicate with an accomplice on the lookout.

When police officers arrived, the burglars panicked and left behind a bag with $1 million in jewelry. Officers found one hiding under a bush with the walkie-talkie in hand.

Another managed to break into a home and kidnapped a family forcing them to drive him from Port St. Lucie to Broward County. He left his fingerprints on the blinds when he checked to see if the cops had followed him there, and he also left behind a bottle of water that he had drank from. 

An agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives took over the case with help from FBI agents who used social media and cell phone tower records and Sunpass toll records to solve the crime.

Authorities identified the armed burglars as Jerome Simmons, 29, Christopher Brinson, 32, and Adrian Hardy, 33, from Fort Lauderdale, and Emory Moore, 33, from Coral Springs. 

Simmons, who faces robbery and use of a fire arm in relation to a crime of violence, was caught during their failed heist April 13. Hardy, who was accused of kidnapping the family, was arrested May 8 in Orlando. He faces robbery, use of a fire arm in relation to a crime of violence, carjacking and kidnapping charges. 

Brinson, who was arrested April 21, faces robbery and use of a firearm in relation to a crime of violence. Moore was arrested April 6 for violation of his probation. They pleaded not guilty. Their federal trial is scheduled for January. 

It turns out the gang had big plans. They are also facing charges for conspiring to rob Class Jewelers in Deerfield Beach, March 3; Lilli's Jewelry store in Spring Hill, March 16, where authorities say Moore left his cell phone, and Bishop's Jewelers in Georgia, April 1.  

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