PHILADELPHIA – United States Attorney William M. McSwain announced that Raphael Shaw, 20, of Philadelphia, PA was ordered detained pending trial at a detention hearing today in federal court on charges of burglarizing $104,000 from a Wells Fargo Bank branch in the Parkside section of Philadelphia during the recent riots and looting in the city. The defendant was arrested and taken into federal custody last week and made his initial appearance in court on Friday, July 17, 2020.
Following peaceful protests in the early afternoon of May 30, 2020 in response to the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, MN, civil unrest began to unfold later that afternoon in Philadelphia that resulted in widespread looting, burglary, arson, destruction of property, and other violent acts.
One such burglary occurred on May 31, 2020, when the defendant and his confederates allegedly broke into the Wells Fargo bank located on the 1500 block of north 52nd Street, pointed a rifle at people inside the bank, and removed a cash vault containing $104,000. According to the criminal complaint, the burglars used a forklift stolen from a nearby Lowe’s home improvement store to remove the vault. Surveillance footage from the bank showed a male wearing a blonde wig with distinctive tattoos on his right forearm, and several other individuals, surrounding a large object and moving it through the bank.
Shaw was identified as the individual in the blonde wig after a Philadelphia Police Officer who patrols the Parkside neighborhood, and who has interacted with Shaw multiple times in the last year, recognized the tattoos on his arm. Investigators were also able to further identify Shaw as the suspect based on photos posted to his publicly accessible Instagram account which showed a photo of an individual with the same arm tattoos, displaying large amounts of cash. A separate criminal complaint filed in federal court earlier this month charged Shaw’s alleged associate, Xavier Nolley-Hall, with entering the bank with intent to commit a felony.
“We at the U.S. Attorney’s Office will not allow violent criminal behavior to hijack the First Amendment right of the people to assemble peaceably and to petition their government,” said U.S. Attorney McSwain. “We accomplish that mission not only by arresting and prosecuting the perpetrators, but also by detaining them with no bail, when appropriate. That was the case here. Shaw will now face the consequences of his alleged actions, and he will do so while sitting in federal prison, where he belongs, prior to his trial. The bottom line is that if you committed a federal crime during the rioting and looting in Philadelphia, we are coming for you.”
“Amid peaceful protests and an outbreak of civil unrest, criminal opportunists sought to take advantage of the chaos,” said Michael J. Driscoll, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Philadelphia Division. “Numerous banks across the city experienced vandalism and forced entry, but this daylight forklift burglary was the most brazen incident by far. The FBI/Philadelphia Police Violent Crimes Task Force continues to work the case, to identify the others involved. Our message to those folks: we’ll see you soon.”
If convicted, Shaw faces a maximum possible sentence of twenty years in prison, followed by three years of supervised release, and a fine of up to $250,000.
The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Michael R. Miller.
An Indictment, Information or Criminal Complaint is an accusation. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.