Because a local bar sold beers brewed outside of Pennsylvania, the robbery of its safe in 2011 resulted in the case heading to federal court.
According to the U.S. Justice Department, the Hobbs Act (18 U.S.C. § 1951) "prohibits actual or attempted robbery or extortion affecting interstate or foreign commerce." It is named after Congressman Sam Hobbs, of Alabama.
According to Philly.com, Marc Viney, 34, of Norristown, was convicted in federal court last week. Viney reportedly followed an employee home from Uptown's Roo House Tavern on Willow Street in July of 2011, bound and gagged him, robbed him at gunpoint, and stole his keys, laptop and money. Viney then reportedly returned to the bar to rob its safe.
Viney was found guilty of robbery, criminal conspiracy to commit robbery, and possession of a firearm to commit a violent crime.
"He faces a stiffer sentence because the case was shifted from Montgomery County Court to U.S. District Court using the Hobbs Act," said the Philly.com article.
According to court documents, Viney was "an appropriate candidate for Project Safe Neighborhoods, which allows local prosecutors to take cases to federal court," Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Rebecca W. Strubel told Philly.com.
"Viney took the victim back to the tavern and forced him to give up the alarm code and the key to the safe. Viney stole a few thousand dollars and high-end liquor," Strubel told Philly.com.
Viney may serve a minimum of seven years to a maximum of life. The sentencing hearing is scheduled for May 7, 2013.