DeKalb Man Sentenced to 17 Years as Part of Robbery Crew
ATLANTA - Larry Pratt has been sentenced in federal court to 17 years in prison to be followed by a five years of supervised release for his part in a robbery crew.
“By impersonating police and invading houses in residential areas, this robbery crew undermined the public’s trust in real law enforcement officers,” said United States Attorney Sally Quillian Yates. “Citizens must be able to trust that those who look like police are, in fact, really police. Although it may be tempting to characterize this as merely drug dealer on drug dealer crime; the fact that this robbery crew also used SWAT-like tactics, kidnapped victims, and exchanged gun fire on residential streets to steal drugs and cash demonstrates a lack of respect for people’s lives. Their arrest and prosecution is an important way to maintain public trust.”
"Individuals who impersonate law enforcement and pursue a criminal path of armed robberies and home invasions threaten the safety of our communities,” said ATF Acting Special Agent in Charge Ray Brown. “ATF along with our law enforcement partners remain on the frontline of preventing such criminal activities.”
According to United States Attorney Yates, the charges and other information presented in court: Pratt and the five other men indicted with him by the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office belonged to a robbery crew that targeted suspected drug dealers. The robbers used tracking devices they secretly put on the victims’ cars to learn their habits and where their intended victims stored drugs and money. The armed robbers would dress like police, including wearing bullet-proof vests, raid jackets, and hats with the word “POLICE” printed on them. They would then storm the victims’ houses in a “SWAT”-like tactic – yelling “Police, get down.” From there, they would tie up and beat the victims until they provided the locations of the drugs and money.
In one robbery, on the evening of January 14, 2010, Pratt and nine other robbers targeted a residence in DeKalb County, Ga. Dressed as police, the robbers approached the house just as the victim was walking out the front door. The robbers rushed the victim, and had him in handcuffs on the front lawn when the victim’s friend drove up. The robbers shot at the victim’s friend, and a gunfight between the friend and the robbers took place in the front yard. The robbers then kidnapped the victim in an attempt to get him to tell them where the drugs were located. The robbers drove the victim around for several hours, all the time keeping him handcuffed in the back of the vehicle. The victim was certain he would be killed. The ordeal ended only when the robbers drove the victim to his residence in Conyers, Ga., and his girlfriend recognized that something was wrong and called police.
Pratt, 40, of Decatur, Ga., was sentenced to 17 years in prison, and five years of supervised release. Pratt pleaded guilty on November 10, 2011, and his sentencing was delayed until after the trial of his co-defendants.
Besides this robbery, the crew committed other robberies including ones in Rockdale, Fulton, Bartow and Cobb Counties. The crew included three men from Baltimore, Maryland, who travelled here for the sole purpose of committing these robberies: Torrez Seymore, who was sentenced on March 7, 2013, to 13 years, eight months in prison, Kenneth Patterson, who was sentenced on November 8, 2013, to ten years and one month in prison, and Rashaad Wilson, who is scheduled to be sentenced on April 15, 2014. Two members of the crew are from Atlanta, Ga.; Charles Hutcheson, aka Charlie Boy, who was sentenced July 12, 2013, to 19 years, six months, and Taylor Richardson, who is scheduled to be sentenced on April 15, 2014. One other member of the crew, Ryan Whitt, of Decatur, Ga., was sentenced on January 6, 2013, to 16 years in prison.
This case is being investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
Assistant United States Attorneys Kim S. Dammers and Leslie Abrams prosecuted the case.
For further information please contact the U.S. Attorney’s Public Affairs Office at USAGAN.PressEmails@usdoj.gov or (404) 581-6016. The Internet address for the home page for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia Atlanta Division is http://www.justice.gov/usao/gan/.