Alton Man Pleads Guilty to Aiding and Abetting Armed Robbery
Case is one of many brought as a result of United States Attorney Stephen R. Wigginton’s Metro-East Armed Robbery Initiative
An Alton, Illinois, resident pled guilty on February 10, 2014, to an Indictment, charging that he and his co-defendant, Taylor C. Harkey, 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 makes it a crime to obstruct, delay, or affect interstate commerce by robbery, and is used by United States Attorney Wigginton as a way to combat armed robbery in the Southern District of Illinois.
Ramone C. Cunningham, 30, of Alton, Illinois, 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. Sentencing is scheduled for May 22, 2014, in East St. Louis, Illinois. Cunningham has been held without bond since his initial appearance on December 3, 2013.
The offense occurred on July 18, 2013, when Cunningham and his co-defendant, Taylor Harkey, were at her residence discussing ways in which to get “quick money.” At Cunningham’s suggestion, Harkey and Cunningham devised a plan to rob a cab driver. The two left in Harkey’s husband’s car and went to another individual’s residence. At this house, Cunningham remained in the car while Harkey went inside and 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 .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. Both Cunningham and Harkey provided videotaped statements to Alton police officers in which they admitted their role in the robbery.
The case was investigated by the Alton, Illinois, Police Department. The case is assigned to Assistant United States Attorney Angela Scott.