Four cross-dressing bandits convicted for jewelry store heists

Four Broward County men who pulled off jewelry store heists while poorly disguised as women have been convicted by a federal jury after a monthlong trial.

The three Fort Lauderdale men and one Coral Springs man face possible life sentences for their convictions on four armed robberies committed during a six-week span in the spring of 2017 and covering nearly 900 miles from South Florida to Georgia and back again.

Sentencing is set for June 7 in West Palm Beach before U.S. District Judge Kenneth Marra.

The men’s disguises, consisting of bright red lipstick, long dark wigs, thick face makeup and women’s attire, weren’t very convincing though, store clerks told investigators.

The escape car sped away and the robbers in the store dropped everything but a Rolex watch and took off running, federal prosecutors said.

Brinson, the getaway driver, was found at a nearby restaurant.

When police caught up with Simmons in a hospital parking lot close by, he had a walkie-talkie and was hiding under a bush. When he crawled out, all he wore was makeup, underwear and a sock. A discarded wig was found not far away.

Hardy escaped into a retirement community where he held four snowbirds visiting from Toronto as hostages. At gunpoint, he forced them to drive him to Fort Lauderdale, court documents show.

Hardy was eventually arrested at a Golden Corral restaurant in Orlando. He also was convicted on four counts of kidnapping. Each count carries a maximum of 15 years in prison., 954-356-4542 or Twitter @talanez

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