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CAMDEN, N.J. – A New Jersey man was arrested today for allegedly robbing a Camden barbershop and for possessing a firearm as a previously convicted felon, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced.

Benjamin Daye, 33, is charged by complaint with one count of Hobbs Act robbery and one count of unlawful possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. Daye is scheduled to appear this afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge Ann Marie Donio in Camden federal court.

“This case is prime example of the renewed focus on prosecuting gun crimes that was announced by the Department of Justice last fall,” U.S. Attorney Carpenito said. “We are working with our partners at Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and local law enforcement to investigate gun crimes and bring offenders to justice swiftly. Today’s complaint describes a defendant who not only was prohibited from possessing a gun, but who allegedly was all too quick to use one in furtherance of a violent crime.”

“The arrest today and development of this investigation is a great example of collaboration at its best,” ATF Special Agent in Charge Charlie J. Patterson said. “ATF is proud to partner with the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Camden County Police Department to stop the City’s most violent offenders, especially those who use firearms to commit senseless acts of crime. ATF will continue to be on the front line alongside our partners to ensure our communities remain safe places to live, work, and play.”

“Eliminating illegal firearms, and the carnage they create, in our community is my number priority,” Camden County Police Chief Joseph Wysocki said. “The violent crime tied to these guns has a destabilizing impact on our neighborhoods and residents. Furthermore, crimes committed with these weapons and the individuals that carry them will have our agency’s undivided attention. I want to thank all of our partners, local, state and federal, for their assistance in this arrest and forthcoming prosecution.”

According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:

On Nov. 23, 2019, Daye entered a barbershop in Camden armed with a loaded handgun. He grabbed a juvenile customer, pointed the gun at the customer’s head, and demanded cash and belongings from employees and customers. Daye was apprehended shortly thereafter next to a bag containing the handgun and the stolen items. Daye previously was convicted of three crimes, each punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year.

The Hobbs Act charge carries a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The charge of being a felon in possession of a firearm carries a maximum potential penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

This case is part of Project Guardian, the Department of Justice’s signature initiative to reduce gun violence and enforce federal firearms laws. Initiated by the Attorney General in the fall of 2019, Project Guardian draws upon the Department’s past successful programs to reduce gun violence; enhances coordination of federal, state, local and tribal authorities in investigating and prosecuting gun crimes; improves information sharing by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives when a prohibited individual attempts to purchase a firearm and is denied by the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), to include taking appropriate actions when a prospective purchaser is denied by the NICS for mental health reasons; and ensured that federal resources are directed at the criminals posing the greatest threat to our communities. For more information about Project Guardian, please see https://www.justice.gov/projectguardian

U.S. Attorney Carpenito credited special agents of the ATF, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Patterson; the Camden County Police Department, under the direction of Chief Wysocki; and the Camden County Prosecutor’s Office, under the direction of Acting Prosecutor Jill S. Mayer, with the investigation leading to today’s charges. This investigation was a joint efforts of the ATF Camden Field Office and the Camden County Police Department (CCPD) Shooting Response Team (SRT). ATF and CCPD have formulated a partnership composed of special agents, detectives, and intelligence analysts that investigate shooting incidents in real time.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel A. Friedman of the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s Criminal Division in Camden.

The charges and allegations contained in the complaint are merely accusations and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

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