A Centreville man who participated in a home-invasion robbery last winter pleaded guilty last week in Fairfax County Circuit Court. He is Jong Kuk Choi, 37, of 13701 Winding Oak Circle.
THE INCIDENT occurred Feb. 14, around 9:45 a.m., at a McLean home near the intersection of Lewinsville and Spring Hill roads in Tysons Corner. Police said a couple was home at the time and answered a knock at their door.
According to the authorities, the two men at the door identified themselves as police officers, so the occupants let them in. "Both men were brandishing handguns," said police. "The two suspects tied up the couple, both in their mid-to-late 40s, and ransacked the home."
The men fled in a black Mazda, and the victims eventually freed themselves and ran to a neighbor's home for help. Police said jewelry and other items were stolen from the home.
A few hours after the robbery, a surveillance photo — reportedly of the same two men — was taken at the Hecht's store at Landmark Mall in Alexandria. Said police: "They used a credit card taken from the victims to purchase clothing."
On March 20, police arrested two suspects, Dae Woong Bae, 28, of Los Angeles, Calif., and Min Hyu Shin, 25, of Burtonsville, Md., in Los Angeles. They nabbed Choi, April 12, at his home in Centreville.
All three were charged with two counts each of robbery, abduction and use of a firearm in the commission of a felony, plus one count each of burglary and impersonating a police officer.
Later in General District Court, the firearm and impersonation charges against Choi were dropped. But a June 19 grand jury indicted him on the robbery, abduction and burglary charges.
He appeared last Wednesday, Sept. 20, in Circuit Court before Judge Randy Bellows. At that time, the burglary charge was dropped, but Choi pleaded guilty to two counts of abduction and two counts of robbery.
Following a pre-sentencing report, he's scheduled to be sentenced on Dec. 22. Each count of abduction is punishable by as much as 10 years in prison, and each robbery charge carries a possible penalty of five years to life in prison.