New York State Correction Officer, Rikers Island Barber, Inmate Charged in Manhattan Armed Robbery Plot
June 7 (New York) - Bridget G. Brennan, New York City’s Special Narcotics Prosecutor, Wilbert L. Plummer, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s New York Field Division (DEA), New York City Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly and Joseph A. D’Amico, Superintendent of the New York State Police, announced today the arrests and indictment of a correction officer with the New York State Department of Corrections and two accomplices in connection with a plot to conduct an armed robbery at a drug stash house. The charges contained in the new indictment are the result of a month-long investigation.
Fabian Faulkner, a Rikers Island inmate awaiting trial on unrelated murder and weapons charges in the Bronx, was arrested this morning and is scheduled to be arraigned on the indictment in Manhattan Supreme Court today.
Kirk Francis, a correction officer most recently assigned to Bedford Hills Correctional Facility for Women, and Melbourne Rowe, a Rikers Island barber, were arrested in Upper Manhattan on May 23 rd by the New York Drug Enforcement Task Force Redrum Group. Agents seized two firearms at the time of their arrests. Bail was set at $200,000 at their initial arraignments on a criminal complaint. Francis and Rowe will be arraigned on charges in the new indictment at a later date.
Early in the investigation, Faulkner was recorded telling a former Rikers Island inmate about his involvement in a robbery crew that targeted drug dealers. These conversations took place on a Rikers telephone and were recorded in accordance with New York City Department of Corrections policy. During these calls, Faulkner used coded language to refer to his crew “professional” robbers, whom he called “caterers”.
The former inmate told Faulkner that he knew of a drug stash house in the Inwood section of Manhattan that would be a good target for the robbery crew, and represented to Faulkner that 15 kilograms of cocaine and $200,000 cash would be hidden at the location. Unbeknownst to Faulkner the drug stash house did not exist, and law enforcement officers were fully aware of the call.
Subsequently, Faulkner put the former inmate in touch with Rowe, whom Faulkner identified as a distant relative. Rowe met with the former inmate on May 2, and discussed a plan to carry out an armed robbery. Rowe said he would provide the necessary people and weapons to carry out the robbery. A second meeting took place in the Bronx on May 17, when Rowe said he was prepared to go forward with the robbery.
On May 21, Francis joined Rowe, the former inmate and another individual at a meeting in the vicinity of 218 th Street and Broadway in Inwood, where they discussed planning and logistics of the robbery, which was to be carried out two days later.
Agents learned that both Faulkner and Rowe had met Francis at Rikers, where he worked as a correction officer for the New York City Department of Corrections for two years prior to going to work for the New York State Department of Corrections four years ago.
On May 23, Francis and Rowe met the former inmate an another individual at 207 th Street and Seamen Avenue in order to carry out the robbery, which was to take place at an apartment in Inwood. Francis and Rowe rode together, while the others drove a separate car.
Members of the Redrum Group – which is comprised of DEA agents, NYPD detectives, and New York State Police Investigators – arrested Francis and Rowe when they arrived at the location at approximately 8:50 p.m. Agents seized a .40 caliber loaded firearm, a holster and a pair of handcuffs from Francis, as well as plastic gloves and flex cuffs that were on the floor of the vehicle near Francis. They also seized a loaded 9mm firearm and holster from Rowe.
The new indictment charges all three defendants with Conspiracy in the second and fourth degrees. Francis and Rowe are also charged with Attempted Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the first degree.
DEA Acting Special Agent in Charge Wilbert L. Plummer stated, “Our Redrum unit in the New York Drug Enforcement Task Force investigates those violent members of drug trafficking organizations that invade homes in order to rob, steal and pilfer only for profit. In order to keep our neighborhoods safe, DEA’s unit works hand in hand with our local, state and federal counterparts to investigate and safely arrest those who have a desire for violent actions before they are committed. With the assistance of SNP, the NYPD and the NYSP this was a successful takedown to keep the areas around Inwood and the New York area safe.”
Special Narcotics Prosecutor Bridget G. Brennan said, “The Drug Enforcement Task Force Redrum unit disrupted a conspiracy involving a Rikers inmate, a Rikers employee and State Corrections Officer, derailing a violent plot to rob drug dealers and seizing two loaded guns. Countless innocent people have been killed, injured, and terrified when their homes were mistakenly targeted by similar home invasion organizations. The arrests and indictments announced today make our neighborhoods safer and more secure.”
New York State Police Superintendent Joseph A. D’Amico said, “I am pleased the cooperative effort of the Drug Enforcement Task Force Redrum Group has led to the indictments of these corrupt individuals, who were conspiring to carry-out crimes and violence in our communities, at a time when good citizens and law enforcement are working diligently to eliminate it.”
The charges and allegations are merely accusations and the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.