St. Louis County man pleads guilty to armed robbery

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A man from St. Louis County, Missouri, has admitted to committing the armed robbery of a convenience store in Jefferson County in 2023.

Matthew Ortega, 34, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in St. Louis to one count of robbery and one count of possession of a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence. He admitted to pointing a Glock handgun at the clerk of a convenience store and gas station on Hillsboro-House Springs Road in Jefferson County, Missouri, and demanding money from the cash register. Ortega was wearing a motorcycle helmet during the robbery and left on a distinctive Suzuki motorcycle. Three days later, he was involved in an accident while riding the Suzuki and wearing the same helmet and hard-knuckle motorcycle gloves used during the robbery. Police later recovered the gun he used in the robbery.

Ortega is scheduled to be sentenced on September 18. Both sides have agreed to recommend 11 years in prison.

The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office investigated the case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Nicholas Lake is prosecuting the case.

This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program that brings together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and gun violence, aiming to make neighborhoods safer for everyone. On May 26, 2021, the Department launched a violent crime reduction strategy strengthening PSN based on these core principles: fostering trust and legitimacy in communities, supporting community-based organizations that help prevent violence, setting focused and strategic enforcement priorities, and measuring the results.

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