Pair sentenced in jewelry store armed robberies

Saslow’s employee bound by zip ties

Thank you for being one of our most loyal readers. Please consider supporting community journalism by subscribing.


A Rocky Mount pair who stole more than $50,000 worth of jewelry from two stores, including one in Wilson, will spend several years in federal prison.

Federal officials say 20-year-old Jaquin Jamal Pratt and 26-year-old Nikita Shontel Taylor robbed two jewelry stores at gunpoint in 2017.

Both pleaded guilty in 2018 to one count each of interference with commerce by robbery in a federal court. They were sentenced this week. Pratt received 10 years in federal prison followed by three years supervised release. Taylor received roughly seven years followed by supervised release.

On Nov. 17, 2017, Pratt and Taylor robbed Saslow’s Jewelers on Raleigh Road Parkway at gunpoint, according to officials.

The duo confined employees to the back of the business and bound their hands with zip ties, officials said. Pratt and Taylor then stole more than $25,000 worth of jewelry, federal officials said. Employees were able to escape and called 911, according to a previous report in The Wilson Times.

Less than two weeks later, Pratt and Taylor robbed Swift’s Fine Jewelry in Knightdale where they zip-tied employees and stole more than $30,000 worth of jewelry, according to federal officials.

“We are extremely pleased with the sentences imposed by the court,” U.S. Attorney Robert J. Higdon Jr. said in a news release. “While we cannot fully restore the victims in this case because they will always have to live with the fear and memory of being tied up and robbed, we hope the court’s sentence will bring some measure of comfort and will deter others from committing similar crimes. And, of course, for the next seven plus years, these defendants won’t be in a position to threaten or harm anyone else.”

The Wilson Police Department, Knightdale Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives investigated the case. Federal prosecution was initiated through the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of North Carolina’s Take Back North Carolina Initiative, where regional federal prosecutors work with law enforcement and district attorneys’ offices on a regular basis to reduce the violent crime rate, drug trafficking and crimes against law enforcement.