Accused Chanel Bandit Bagged By Texts, Searches

Trial nears for Brooklyn man in $200k ransacking

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Chanel Rampage

FEBRUARY 15--Federal prosecutors have cited DaBaby to counter an accused armed robber’s DeFense.

As news reports of brazen shoplifting and retail ransackings multiply, a New York City man faces trial next month for his alleged role in the theft of nearly $200,000 in merchandise from a Chanel store in Manhattan’s Soho neighborhood.

Prosecutors charge that Eric Spencer, 30, and three cohorts robbed the luxury retailer in broad daylight last February, netting armfuls of wallets and handbags. Flashing a firearm in his waistband, Spencer allegedly yelled, “Nobody touch me!,” while directing his fellow robbers to “Get everything! Grab everything!”

Within a week of the February 2 Chanel heist, FBI agents identified Spencer as the robbery’s ringleader, and he was arrested later that month in Florida. In custody since his collar, Spencer is now locked up in a New Jersey county jail, where he has been sanctioned for “exposing himself multiple times” to a female correctional officer and for telling a second guard, “I want to fuck the shit out of you,” according to a court filing.

Spencer has been denied bail, in part, due to a criminal history that includes three felony and 13 misdemeanor convictions (for offenses like grand larceny and possession of stolen goods). Additionally, the Brooklyn resident faces three separate state indictments charging him with a total of 20 grand larcenies or robberies at Manhattan retailers between 2018 and 2020.

Prosecutors have estimated that Spencer--the only individual to be arrested for the Chanel robbery--faces a sentence of between 120 and 150 months in prison if convicted at trial of federal robbery and conspiracy counts.

In the Chanel case, FBI agents have gathered surveillance video, texts, and cell phone records that appear to incriminate Spencer (seen below).

Beginning on the night of the robbery, investigators say, Spencer “repeatedly” looked online for news of the crime, using search terms like “Chanel store robbery,” “soho robbery,” and “robbers in soho.” Spencer’s phone, seized when he was arrested, included photos of five Chanel handbags. Metadata for those images showed that they were taken in the days after the Soho robbery.

Messages on Spencer’s phone showed several potential customers seeking Chanel products. But Spencer replied that his inventory was spent: “I had Chanel bags they all gone thou” and “Nomore bags bro.”

The inquiries appear to have been spurred by a post to Spencer’s Twitter account the day after the Soho rampage: “SO MUCH DOUBLE C RN I COULD OPEN A SMALL BOUTIQUE FRFR.” As decoded by federal prosecutors, “Double C” is a reference to Chanel, whose logo is a pair of interlocking “Cs.” As for “FRFR,” a court filing notes, that is shorthand for “for real, for real,” or “seriously.”

In a recorded jailhouse conversation with his girlfriend, Spencer sought to “create a false exculpatory narrative,” according to prosecutor Matthew Shahabian. Referring to the “Double C” tweet--which was cited in the criminal complaint filed against him--Spencer explained he was not referring to Chanel, but instead to the brand Coach (which has two “Cs” in its name).

Swatting away this claim with a Contra, e.g. citation, Shahabian noted that on the 2020 track “Coco” by “24kGoldn ft. DaBaby,” the rappers refer to Chanel as “Double-C.” In addition to including the URL containing the full “Coco” lyrics, Shahabian quoted part of the song’s chorus: “Coco Chanel, double-C lock on the belt.” Elsewhere in the single, DaBaby observes that, “Double C's on the belt correlate the ice hit (Bling, bling).”

The day before FBI agents arrested him, Spencer discussed “acquiring” more Chanel merchandise, according to investigators. In an exchange of messages, Spencer told an acquaintance, “Lols I’ma have some more Chanel.” The duo then discussed a luxury goods store in West Palm Beach. After being told that “West Palm has strip stores like soho,” Spencer replied, “Yes I love strip stores [muscle emoji] ima tear there ass up lol.”

In December, Spencer replaced his lawyer, who had been engaging in plea negotiations with the government. The attorney, Aaron Goldsmith, reported to the court that his relationship with Spencer had “broken down beyond a point of repair.”

Last month, Spencer’s new counsel made a bail application that was quickly denied by Judge Gregory Woods. In support of that motion, Spencer mailed a three-page handwritten letter to Woods claiming that, “I’m no angel but I’m super far from a bad person.” He also declared that, “It would be almost impossible to find anywhere in America a black man who has lived further down in the mud of human society than I have, or a black man who has been any more ignorant than I have been; or a black man who has suffered more anguish during his life than I have.” (4 pages)