RALEIGH – Robert J. Higdon, Jr., the United States Attorney for the Eastern
District of North Carolina, announces that Chief United States District Judge
Terrence W. Boyle sentenced TYRA MAKAVA WATSON, 19, of Lumberton to 144
months’ imprisonment, followed by 5 years of supervised released, and BOBBY
PRESTON MCNAIR, 26, of Lumberton to 184 months’ imprisonment, followed by 5 years of supervised released.
On January 16, 2019, WATSON pled guilty to five counts of Hobbs Act robbery
and brandishing a firearm during a crime of violence. On December 12, 2018,
MCNAIR, pled guilty to four counts of Hobbs Act robbery and brandishing a firearm during a crime of violence.
On October 30, 2017, WATSON and MCNAIR, robbed the Minuteman Gas
Station in St. Pauls, NC, followed by the robbery of the Family Dollar store on
Norment Road in Lumberton. On November 2, 2017, the two then robbed the Family Dollar store on Roberts Avenue in Lumberton, and on November 4, 2017, they robbed the Family Dollar store on East 5th Street in Lumberton. Lastly, WATSON robbed the Dollar General store on Canton Road in Lumberton. On each occasion, either WATSON or MCNAIR, brandished a firearm and took money from the business.
This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing
together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce
violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. Since 2017 the United States Department of Justice has reinvigorated the PSN program and has targeted violent criminals, directing all U.S. Attorney’s Offices to work in partnership with federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement and the local community to develop effective, locally-based strategies to reduce violent crime.
This case is also part of the Take Back North Carolina Initiative of the United
States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of North Carolina. This initiative
emphasizes the regional assignment of federal prosecutors to work with law
enforcement and District Attorney’s Offices on a sustained basis in those
communities to reduce the violence crime rate, drug trafficking, and crimes against law enforcement.
The investigation of this case was conducted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco,
Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) and the Lumberton Police Department. Assistant United States Attorney Robert J. Dodson prosecuted the case for the