Gang of armed robbers targeted drug dealers in four states - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

Gang of armed robbers targeted drug dealers in four states

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The fourth member of a gang of robbers that targeted drug dealers has pleaded guilty to home invasion armed robbery, U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin reports.

Robert L. Barcliff, 29, of Wytheville, Va., admitted his involvement Wednesday, Jan. 29, in U.S. District Court in Charleston, Goodwin said.

Barcliff and his co-conspirators, Keith Glenn, Robert J. Smith and William Seltzer, rushed a Marmet apartment they believed to be occupied by drug dealers from Detroit in April 2012. Barcliff and Smith, dressed in dark clothing, stormed the apartment at gunpoint, stole money and went into hiding.

Barcliff and his gang targeted drug dealers because they are less likely to report crimes for fear of implicating themselves in drug crimes, Goodwin said.

Similar home invasion robberies have been committed in Charleston and surrounding communities, but the crime spree also extended to Virginia, Pennsylvania and Tennessee, he said.

"Some of these robberies occurred in neighborhoods where families live and where children play outside -- places where decent people have every right to expect to be safe and free from this type of violent behavior," Goodwin said. "But when prescription and other types of illegal drugs are involved, criminal behavior is unpredictable and can be dangerous."

Glenn, Smith, and Seltzer each have entered guilty pleas in federal court for charges related to the investigation and are awaiting sentencing.

Barcliff faces a up to life in prison when he is sentenced May 7 by U.S. District Judge Thomas E. Johnston.

The South Charleston Police Department, Charleston Police Department, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Monica D. Coleman and Philip H. Wright are in charge of the prosecution.