PROVIDENCE, RI – An Albanian national living in Brooklyn, NY, pleaded guilty in federal court in Providence to cutting his way through the roof into a Target department store in Smithfield, R.I., prying open an ATM inside the store and stealing more than $14,000, then cutting through a wall into a CVS Pharmacy located inside the store in order to steal controlled substances.
Appearing before U.S. District Court Chief Judge William E. Smith on Friday, Epirot Krasniqi, 27, pleaded guilty as charged in an indictment returned on November 7, 2017, to one count each of conspiracy to commit larceny from a financial institution, bank larceny, conspiracy to commit burglary involving controlled substances, and burglary involving controlled substances. No plea agreement was filed in this matter.
Krasniqi’s guilty plea is announced by United States Attorney Stephen G. Dambruch, Smithfield Police Chief Richard P. St. Sauveur, Jr., and Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Boston Division Harold H. Shaw.
According to court documents, sometime after the Target store closed on October 9, and in the early morning hours of October 10, 2017, Krasniqi and another person, Liridon Gashi, 32, an Albanian national living in Bronx, N.Y., equipped with portable two-way radios and hand tools, cut through the roof of the store and then forced open an ATM from which they stole $14,720. The pair then cut through the wall of a CVS Pharmacy inside the store, broke open a locked cabinet holding controlled substances and stole a prescription package of Oxycodone. The two men then fled to the roof of the store.
According to information presented to the Court, Smithfield police officers responded to a report of an electronic burglary alarm and began to search the premises. After discovering the hole in the roof, officers began searching approximately 30 air conditioning units located on the roof. The two men were found hiding inside separate air conditioning units. Also discovered inside the store and various air conditioning units on the roof were the tools used in the break-in of the store and the ATM, the cash stolen from the ATM, and the drugs stolen from the pharmacy.
Krasniqi and Gashi were charged and arraigned in Rhode Island state court and released on bail. Federal arrest warrants were issued for both men following the return of the federal indictment on November 7, 2017. Krasniqi was arrested by FBI agents in New York that same day. Liridon Gashi was located and arrested by FBI agents in San Francisco, CA, on March 7, 2018.
Krasniqi is scheduled to be sentenced on August 22, 2018. Gashi is detained and awaiting trial.
The cases are being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Ly T. Chin and Denise M. Barton.
The matter was investigated by the Smithfield Police Department, with the assistance of the Rhode Island FBI Safe Streets Task Force.