Kevin Cheeks was convicted in Queens Supreme Court for holding up the Shinki Nail Salon in Oakland Gardens, Queens. His downfall was using a distinctive company-owned getaway vehicle. The vehicle was an ambulette equipped with a GPS tracking system, which police used to locate and arrest him.
Sigma Transportation Inc. employed Kevin Cheeks, a 44-year-old repeat offender, for a grand total of two months before this incident. Cheeks used his day off to rob the nail salon. According to witnesses, he pretended to have a gun in his pocket and forced three employees and four customers to the back of the salon. He proceeded to take $300 from the cash register, as well as his hostages’ valuables.
One of the employees took advantage of an opportunity to escape when Cheeks realized he’d left his cellphone behind and went back for it. Even after the Cheeks threatened to kill anyone who called for help, this employee bravely escaped to a nearby diner and report the robbery. The employee spotted Cheeks walking past the restaurant and drive away in a van marked “Sigma ambulette number 16.”
Apparently, Kevin Cheeks was unaware that most ambulettes are equipped with a GPS tracking system, a detail that the police had not missed. They tracked the vehicle, which confirmed that his van was near the salon during the robbery. The tracking records showed he then traveled to The Bronx and then home, to South Ozone Park. Police were waiting at his company garage in West Hempstead, LI, where he finally returned the vehicle and was arrested.
Defense attorney, Richard Brown said, “the defendant will have a long time behind bars to ponder how a simple GPS vehicle-tracking device and a few mouse clicks led to his arrest and conviction.” The evidence from the GPS tracking service, along with video surveillance from the salon was presented during Cheek’s week long trial, where the jury took a mere two hours to convict him. He will be sentenced next month, where he faces up to 20 years in prison.
Article Written by Marisa O’Connor