Authorities charge 2 in hate crime holdups

April 20, 2010 3:18:30 PM PDT
Prosecutors on eastern Long Island have charged two suspects with targeting Hispanic victims for robbery.

A 30-count indictment unsealed Tuesday in a Riverhead, N.Y., courtroom charges 19-year-old Sean Allen and 18-year-old Felicia Smith with robbery as a hate crime and other offenses. They pleaded not guilty and were held on $300,000 bond.

Allen's attorney did return a call for comment; Smith was represented by Legal Aid, which does not comment on pending cases.

District Attorney Thomas Spota says the pair targeted Hispanics for robbery because they believed the victims carried a lot of cash. The victims were also targeted because they did not appear to speak English and were perceived unlikely to report the robberies to police.