Queens duo sentenced for $280K Aqueduct Racetrack heist

July 14, 2023 Rob Abruzzese
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Two men from Queens, Lamel Miller and Lafayette Morrison, have been sentenced for their roles in an armed robbery at Aqueduct Racetrack, which took place on March 7, 2020. The heist, which netted over $280,000 in cash, led to Miller and Morrison receiving prison terms of 108 and 90 months, respectively.

The sentences were announced by U.S. District Judge Ann Donnelly in federal court in Brooklyn. Miller, who was convicted at trial, was the main armed robber. His co-defendant Morrison, who worked as a racetrack security guard, acted as an “inside man” during the operation.

Breon Peace, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, John B. DeVito, Special Agent-in-Charge at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), and Edward A. Caban, Acting Commissioner of the New York City Police Department (NYPD), publicly announced the sentences.

“These sentences are the finale to the armed robbery that played out like a Hollywood movie heist,” stated U.S. Attorney Peace, emphasizing that the perpetrators were “justly punished for their violent crimes.”

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The plot unfolded on the night following the Gotham Day stakes races at Aqueduct. At about 10 p.m., Miller and a third yet unnamed co-conspirator, ambushed several racetrack employees, including Morrison. Emerging from a hidden spot in a stairwell, they brandished firearms, stole the cash and the employees’ cell phones, and forced the employees into a closet.

The robbers then proceeded to a hotel to split the loot, each taking $100,000 and leaving the remaining $84,000 for Morrison, who had acted as a victim during the robbery. In actuality, Morrison had been instrumental in the heist, providing critical information about the cash transport schedule and location to the Aqueduct Racetrack’s vault.

Following the crime, Morrison repeatedly lied to federal law enforcement officers, even going as far as misidentifying a photograph of Miller, his childhood friend. His deceitful conduct led to a conviction for obstruction of justice in addition to his robbery convictions.


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