Ring thieves convicted


A couple was convicted Tuesday of robbing a South Street jewelry store and leaving their son at the crime scene.

John Benson, 48, of Northeast Philly, was found guilty of attempted murder of the first degree, aggravated assault, criminal conspiracy engaging robbery and robbery while he and Sheakia Stubbs, 32, of West Philly, were convicted of retail theft, criminal conspiracy engaging retail theft and endangering the welfare of a child, according to court records.

The couple was looking at rings with their then-4-year-old son at Platnium & Ice Jewelry, 621 South St., at 3 p.m. Feb. 27, 2010 when Benson began to haggle with the 34-year-old owner, according to police at the time of the incident. Stubbs exited the establishment and held the door open for Benson who dropped a ring behind the counter and swiped a tray of 15 engagement rings valued at about $60,000 from the open display case.

The rings were not recovered, Assistant District Attorney Thomas Lipscomb said.

The owner followed the fleeing family when Benson is believed to have told Stubbs, “Go get the gun from the car. I’m going to shoot this … right here,” according to police.

During the chase, Benson slashed the owner’s neck, which required 10 stitches, and fled leaving the toddler behind.

“[The victim] even after this kid’s father had tried to kill him was a descent enough human being to grab this kid and take him to the South Street Mini Station. … The guy has children of his own, so I think it really bothered him,” Lipscomb said yesterday of the boy who is now 5 and under the care of Stubbs’ brother.

Their sentencing is scheduled for Sept. 21. A prior violent conviction for Benson results in a minimum jail sentence of 10 to 20 years, Lipscomb said. However, he could land a 20- to 40-year jail sentence for attempted murder plus additional years for the other charges. Stubbs sentence is expected to be much smaller. SPR


Contact Managing Editor Amanda L. Snyder at asnyder@southphillyreview.com or ext. 117.