Former Alton Resident Pleads Guilty To Aiding And Abetting An Armed Robbery
Case is one of many brought as a result of United States Attorney Stephen R. Wigginton’s Metro-East Armed Robbery Initiative
A former Alton, Illinois, resident pled guilty in federal court on February 18, 2014, to a charge that she and her co-defendant, Ramone C. Cunningham, aided and abetted each other in the commission of an Armed Robbery, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois, Stephen R. Wigginton, announced today. The Armed Robbery count is a federal “Hobbs Act Robbery.” “The Hobbs Act is just one of the federal tools I will use to keep the citizens of Southern Illinois safe.” said United States Attorney Wigginton. “As I noted when I rolled this initiative out, the Hobbs Act is a tough law which results in a tough sentence. I urge people to think before they risk their freedom for a few dollars.” The Hobbs Act makes it a crime to obstruct, delay, or affect interstate commerce by robbery, and is used by United States Attorney Wigginton’s office as a way to combat armed robbery in the Southern District of Illinois.
Taylor C. Harkey, 28, faces a term of imprisonment of not more than twenty (20) years, a fine up to $250,000, or both, and a term of supervised release of not more than three (3) years at her sentencing. Sentencing is scheduled for May 30, 2014, in East St. Louis, Illinois.
According to facts revealed in court, the offense occurred on July 18, 2013, when Harkey and Cunningham were at her residence in Alton discussing ways in which to get “quick money.” At Cunningham’s suggestion, Harkey and Cunningham devised a plan to rob a cab driver. Harkey used another individual’s cellular telephone to call Comfort Cab to have a cab sent to a vacant residence in Alton. The two parked in an alley near the vacant house. Prior to committing the robbery, Cunningham provided Harkey with a small black Co2, .177 caliber BB gun that looked like a real gun.
Harkey got out of the car and approached the cab that was already at the residence. The cab driver, having noticed that the residence was vacant, notified his dispatcher who told him to wait while they tried to contact the original caller. While waiting for the dispatcher to call back, Harkey reached through the open rear driver’s side window and pointed the gun at the cab driver’s head, stating “Give me your money or I’ll blow your brains out.” Harkey also reached inside the cab and grabbed the cab driver’s company cellular telephone. The driver threw $36.00, consisting of cab fares, out of the window. As Harkey bent down to pick up the money, the cab driver drove away. He was able to contact Comfort Cab to report that he had just been robbed. Comfort Cab subsequently called the Alton Police Department. Using the original number that was used to call the cab, the officers were able to identify Harkey as a suspect. Both Harkey and Cunningham were subsequently arrested a short time later at Harkey’s residence. The BB gun given to Harkey to use during the robbery was recovered from under the mattress of one of her children’s bed. Both Cunningham and Harkey provided voluntary, videotaped statements to Alton police officers in which they both admitted their role in the robbery of the Comfort Cab driver.
The case was investigated by the Alton, Illinois, Police Department. The case is assigned to Assistant United States Attorney Angela Scott.