FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
FRIDAY - August 5, 2011
WILMINGTON FELON RECEIVES 20 YEARS IN PRISON FOR FIREARMS VIOLATIONS
RALEIGH - United States Attorney Thomas G. Walker announced that in federal court yesterday United States District Judge Terrence W. Boyle, sentenced ROBERT LEROY THAMES, 25, of Wilmington, North Carolina to 240 months’ imprisonment.
A Federal Grand Jury returned a Criminal Indictment on January 26, 2011. On April 18, 2011, THAMES pled guilty to two counts unlawful possession of a firearm and ammunition by a convicted felon.
According to the investigation, on June 18, 2010, a traffic stop was performed in Wilmington of the vehicle in which THAMES was driving. Upon a search of the car, law enforcement found a Ruger, .357 Magnum, Model GP100 under the driver’s seat.
The investigation further revealed that on October 3, 2010, law enforcement responded to an attempted robbery. THAMES had attempted to rob a young woman of her pocketbook in downtown Wilmington. As he attempted to grab the pocketbook off her shoulder, she was thrown to the ground. Companions accompanying the victim attempted to defend her and apprehend THAMES until law enforcement could arrive. When THAMES was overtaken, he pulled out a ROHM, .22 caliber, weapon, pointed the firearm at the companions and pulled the trigger three times, however, the firearm did not discharge. One of the companions was able to disarm THAMES. THAMES was held until law enforcement arrived.
THAMES has numerous felony convictions which include robbery with a dangerous weapon, attempted kidnapping, selling cocaine, and multiple convictions of possessing cocaine.
Mr. Walker commented, “We are particularly gratified by the sentence imposed in this case. This incident, in which the defendant tried to shoot multiple individuals could have ended tragically. Because of good luck, and the bravery of one of the victims, that was avoided. Because of the prosecution and the decision of the Court, this defendant will not be able to victimize others for at least 20 years.”
This case was part of the Project Safe Neighborhoods(PSN) initiative which encourages federal, state, and local agencies to cooperate in a unified “team effort” against gun crime, targeting repeat offenders who continually plague their communities.
Investigation of this case was conducted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Wilmington Police Department. Special Assistant United States Attorney Charity Wilson represents the government.Ms. Wilson is a prosecutor with the New Hanover County District Attorney's Office. District Attorney Ben David has assigned her to the United States Attorney's Office to prosecute federal Project Safe Neighborhood cases and other violent crime cases.
News releases are available on the U. S. Attorney’s web page at www.usdoj.gov/usao/nce within 48 hours of release.